PLY Autumn 2017
Ply - The Magazine for Handspinners - Semi - Autumn - Issue 18 – It may be titled “Semi-“, but this magazine delves as deep as you can get into the subject of “semi” yarns. What qualifies a yarn as semi-worsted or semi-woolen? Some say it’s in the fiber prep, while others insist it’s related to the drafting method. In this issue, a team of clever contributors set out to answer these questions by performing their own experiments.
For those of you who, like me, are unsure what the term “semi” really means, this issue of PLY kicks off with a helpful article about just that. Speaking of helpful, there is also a piece by the author of Knitting Comfortably: The Ergonomics of Handknitting, Carson Demers. Demers sheds light on something that most of us never considered, which is how our spinning posture and movements can effect our bodies and overall health. While this may be an obvious consideration for some of you, I know I surely benefited from reading this article.
Since all of this semi- stuff has to do with different methods of fiber preparation, I was excited to see an article showing you how to change combed top (used for worsted spun yarn) to a messier woolen prep using hand cards, a drum carder or blending board. There’s also a little tip in there on how to reactivate your fiber’s crimp, making it loftier and even better suited for spinning woolen-spun yarn.
This issue’s knitted project is the Peak Hat by Benjamin Krudwig. Using the same fiber prepared two different ways, Krudwig spun them up to compare and contrast. He then knit each of them up into the Peak Hat (pattern included) to see what happened – you can see the differences clearly in the photo below:
I love to read about spinners who aren’t afraid to break the rules, even if it’s just for an experiment. In an article by spinning pro Kara Perpelitz, we see what happens when you spin a fiber the “wrong” way. Using Teeswater locks, Perpelitz shows what can happen if you decide to go rogue and use this worsted-friendly fiber for a woolen-spun yarn. Teeswater is a longwool breed of sheep known for being smooth and lustrous, thus almost always prepared and spun worsted. This fiber is similar to Wensleydale Longwool Top Ecru Fiber, although our Wensleydale is sold as already processed top. She then does the same experiment with Babydoll Southdown, whose short staple length and abundance of crimp define it as a more woolen-friendly fiber.
This Ply - The Magazine for Handspinners - Semi - Autumn - Issue 18 concludes with a lovely weaving project- paired, of course, with an experiment- by Mary Berry. Having set out to determine whether semi- spun yarns are suitable for weaving, Berry walks you through her process from fiber prep and spinning technique to weaving these yarns up into a beautiful shawl. With tips for weaving with handspun, there’s nothing to stop you from getting out your rigid heddle or floor loom and having at it!
Each issue of PLY Magazine is an incredibly valuable resource for spinners at all experience levels. When they decide to tackle a subject, they sure do tackle it. Although I sometimes find myself bored or overwhelmed by the technical side of spinning, PLY always seems to put just the right twist on this information to really draw me in… (See what I did there?)
This isn’t the only great issue of PLY. Click here to check out other issues we have in stock!
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