Club, Spinning, SweetGeorgia

September Fibre Club // Very Berry

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! This post is coming to you slightly later than usual because I completely forgot to write about this yarn! I was so excited to work on it and finish it up, winding it off the bobbins and promptly leaving the blog post to be written by itself. To say this Fall has been hectic is an understatement and I’m not usually one to say that we are busy – I try very hard to keep our life calm and quiet. But this fall, with our eldest starting kindergarten, it’s been busy!

This month, I decided to spin a cabled yarn. The colours lend themselves perfectly to a more textured yarn due to the semi-solid nature of Charlotte’s colourway. As I’ve become a more experienced spinner, I have tended to shy away from spinning cables and don’t often spin them from a 100 gram braid – but this was too perfect not to. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, from a 100 gram braid, it is difficult to obtain a lot of yardage without spinning cobweb thin. I don’t particularly like spinning cobweb thin so I tend not too and will default to a traditional 3-ply if I am spinning for socks. Secondly, there is an incredible amount of spinning in cabled yarns so they take quite a bit longer to make. Lastly, the way one manages colour in a cabled yarn is slightly different in a handpainted braid and while these yarns are beautiful, one cannot manage the colours in the same way as other spinning techniques.

To spin a cabled yarn, spin a bobbin full of singles (or two bobbins, depending on your personal preference) with the wheel spinning to the right, or clockwise in the Z twist direction. I allow my singles to rest overnight before plying because there’s a lot happening with this yarn and it’s nice to work with rested singles. I tend to spin my singles with slightly more twist than I normally would for a medium weight, medium twist yarn. Next, I wind my singles into a centre-pull ball (or you can load the two bobbins onto a Lazy Kate for plying). The trick to cabled yarns lays in this step: To ply, one much place TWICE the amount of ply twist in than normal. For example, when I am making a traditional 2-ply, I often ply to 2/3rds (or 0.67 times) of the singles twist. For cabled yarns, one needs to place 1 & 1/3rds (or 1.3 times) the ply twist into the yarn – yes, it will feel and look like rope! This is how to calculate the ply twist you need:

Twists per inch (TPI) of singles spun x 1.3 = Amount of ply twist needed

For this yarn, I spun the singles on a ratio of 14:1 and placed 10 treadles into 15 inches of yarn (or my length of draft), which gave me a twists per inch of 9TPI:

(Number of treadles x ratio) / Length of draft = TPI

From here, I can figure out the amount of ply twist I need:

9 TPI x 1.3 =  11.7 TPI

I changed my ratio at this point and placed my wheel on 11:1 and for every 10 inches of plied yarn, I added 10 treadles (feeding the yarn into the wheel and onto the bobbin on the 10th treadle). This gave me a plied TPI of 11. Remember that I was plying in the anti-clockwise or S twist direction (to the left). The plied 2-ply then rested on my bobbin for a couple of nights before cabling!

Now the fun part! Place a new, empty bobbin onto the wheel and the 2-ply yarn onto the Lazy Kate. Grab your ball winder and begin winding your cabled yarn onto the ball winder, creating another centre-pull ball. Grabbing both ends of the traditional 2-ply yarn, attach them to the leader and begin plying these together. We are now travelling in the clockwise direction again, to the right or Z twist! Watch for the two yarns to ‘pop’ together, then feed it onto the bobbin. Place a little bit more twist into it than you initially think you need – if it pops into place nicely with a couple of treadles, add another 2-3 as you will loose some twist in the washing and finishing of the yarn.

Et voila! A beautifully cabled yarn – and man, is this yarn gorgeous!

Have you dived into this month’s club? We’d love to see what you’re doing. Please head over to the Ravelry group or tag your images with #sweetgeorgiayarns or #sgyclub on Instagram, so that we can find them!

Until next time, Happy Spinning!



About Rachel Smith

I'm a knitter and handspinner living just outside of Vancouver, BC, with my husband, two kids under 4 and two Golden Retrievers. I've been knitting and sewing for many years. Spinning came into my life a couple of years ago when a friend showed me how to get my spinning wheel working smoothly! Besides crafting, you can usually find me outside, camping, walking, or taking photos.

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