-the redhead- (theredhead) wrote,
-the redhead-

Some notes about cabled yarn

A cabled yarn is made by taking two 2 ply yarns and plying them back together in the opposite direction. You can also take two 3 ply or more yarns and ply them, ply a 2 ply with a single, a 2 ply with a 3-ply, etc. The trick is to overply the individual parts on the first plying pass, because when you ply the whole shebang together the twist will balance out.

Confusing, no? For example say you have 4 singles you want to make into a 4 ply cable.

1. You have spun singles A, B, C, and D in the spinning direction. You want to add a touch extra twist to singles to be used for cabled yarns to make sure the final result isn’t underplied. But just a touch – otherwise you can easily end up with a hard yarn. It’s a fine line to walk – experimenting is good.

2. Start by plying single A & B together in the plying direction (opposite of spinning direction) while making sure to overply them – E (A + B) will be very twisty. Do not despair, you will be taking out the extra plying energy in the last step.

3. Do the same for singles C + D = F overplied in the plying direction.

4. Now you have 2 bobbins of overplied 2 ply – good job!

5. Now for the magic – take E & F and ply them together in the spinning direction (opposite of the plying direction in steps 2 & 3). This will balance out the extra energy and lock the components.

6. Voila – you have cabled yarn

There are pros & cons to cabled yarns.

- seems like it takes *forever*. Think about it – you are touching this yarn 4 or more times – spinning the singles, plying the first time, plying everything together the second time, and pulling the final result off the bobbin.

- Cabled yarns eat up a lot of fiber, just like regular 4 or more ply yarn.

- It’s easy to end up with yarn that’s harder than you envisioned. There’s a whole lot of over plying going on by necessity, so it’s easy to get a little carried away. Make sure to check during the singles process that you are going to end up with the final result you want. Once you hit that sweet spot save a little sample on an index card for reference – it will save you grief later on :)


- cabled yarns are very strong for all the obvious reasons.

- they fuzz and pill less because more of the fiber ends are locked into the yarn. Cabled yarns is not a good choice if you are looking for the whole fuzzy mohair effect.

- This type of yarn is very smooth and round, so it shows off your cable and stitch work very well.

- Fat yarn. It’s a wonderful way to get fat yarn, especially for those of us who tend to spin thin.

- Cabled yarns is great for socks, but those singles have to be very fine.

- It’s a fun way to blend colors, fibers, and textures – really! The possibilities are endless.

-the redhead-
Tags: spinning
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