Finding the “right” end of cotton sliver

For those of you who spin cotton sliver, this is a simple method for finding the right end to spin from.  Usually I have just seen the tip that if your cotton drafts lumpy, turn it around and spin from the other end, because cotton has a “nap” to it, but this is a method I have come up with so that you don’t have to go that far. (I think this will work for other roving or top, but other roving and top tends to be a little better behaved than cotton).


Imagine your cotton is laid out like this (because it is, due to the nap in it):

cotton sliver graphic

 (I still haven’t quite figured out the pictures).  The arrow is the direction you want to draft the roving (with the end toward the spindle and the arrow pointing toward your hand if you are spinning on a charka).  If you notice, the fibers line up in a particular direction and your hand would be smoothing down the fibers.  If you are sensitive enough, you can actually feel this. 


Lay your sliver across your palm with one end toward your fingertips and the other end toward the heel of your hand.  Lightly stroke the fiber with your other hand lengthwise first one direction then the other.  The fiber should feel smoother when you stroke it one direction.  If going from your fingertips to the heel of your hand feels smother, you are golden, this is how you should hold your fiber.  If it feels smoother the other way, flip your fiber around.  You should now be able to spin from the right end of the fiber every time.



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Okay, more of getting ready for classes.  Here are some tips on plying.  Very short and sweet, on my handout I have some pictures, but I’m not sure of how to get them to work here.


Navajo Plying (aka Chain Plying)

1.  Form a loop with your yarn and pinch the end of the yarn to keep the loop stable.

2.  Pull another loop through this loop.

3.  Holding you loop open and holding the free end of the yarn add twist in the opposite direction of the twist of your singes.

4. Pull another loop through open loop.

5. Repeat steps 3-4 until you have plied all your yarn


Plying from Two Ends of a Center-Pull Ball

1.  Using a Ball Winder or Nostepinde (Nostepinne), wind your singles into a center-pull ball.

2.  Match up the inside strand and the outside strand and pull some yarn from both the inside and outside of the ball.

3.  Add twist in the opposite direction from your singles.

4.  Pull more yarn from the inside and outside of the ball.

5.  Repeat Steps 3-4 until you have plied all your yarn



This is a test…and working with striped fiber

Okay, I just looked at my stats and I know that somebody besides me is reading this.  Just so I can check my ability to get and moderate comments, could somebody please post a comment?  I’m hoping that eventually I can stir up some discussions on my blog and I want to know that this works!


I am still organizing some thoughts for classes so this post is again for my working with color class.  Sometimes when you work with fiber you get a striped/color blended roving or batt where there are definite stripes of color that run the length of the roving or batt (think vertical, not horizontal).  There are a few ways you can deal with this that will result in different effects in your finished yarn.


1.  Predraft the roving or batt by pulling on the end, and pulling relatively straight.  What this does is blend the colors more throughout the length of your yarn.  It does not create a solid yarn, but it blends the colors so the color variations have short runs and are somewhat muted.  This also will create more random changes in color because you are not trying to control where your color changes occur.


2.  Predraft the roving by pulling at an angle and/or picking up strategic colors as you draft.  This creates longer lengths of color in the final yarn and also creates more distinct patches of color with more blended transitions between the colors.  You also have more control of the order of the colors and amount of variegation in your yarn.  This creates more of a variegated yarn but still maintains the blending of colors that pulling the roving straight does.


3.  Strip the roving along color bands.  This allows even more definition between colors and gives the spinner even more control over the variegation.  There is not the blended transitions like in the other two methods (unless you do strips that contain more than one color).  By breaking these strips into pieces and mixing the pieces up, the spinner can create their own unique color way or completly randomize the variegation of the yarn. 


All three methods work to create different effects.  A good experiment might be getting a color blended or striped roving or batt and sample all three methods to see which one you like the best.

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Color Blending on Handcarders

Okay, It’s been awhile, but I’ve been putting together some information for some classes.  I have yet to link to this blog from my main site (which I desperately need to do), but I think it is now linked from Ravelry.   Anyway, here is a short article

Blending Fiber on Hand Carders
Glenna Chumbley

One of my favorite techniques for getting a variegated color way is by using hand carders to blend the colors.  This gives the fiber a painted look that can create really interesting yarn colorways.  The important thing to remember with this is that you need to look at your hand carders symmetrically because fiber will blend symmetrically from the center out.

Divide your hand carders into 3-6 color zones where you will put color, such as the following (using more than 6 zones becomes difficult to manage):

Three Zones


Four Zones


Five Zones 


Six Zones



Color zones marked A will blend with other zones marked A.  Color zones marked B will blend with other color zones marked B.  Color zones marked C will blend with other color zones marked C.  If the colors are similar or neighboring colors in those zones, they will blend nicely and maintain their vibrancy.  The more different the colors are in these zones, the muddier the resulting blended color will be.  It doesn’t matter so much if zones marked A and B are completely different, but two zones marked A need to be similar in order to maintain the vibrancy of color.  This is because when you transfer fiber from one hand card to another, it will generally transfer to exactly the opposite side of the other carder, for example, in a 6 zone layout, from zone 1 to zone 6.  So if you divide the carder in half, the fiber will stay in the same relative position, but on the opposite side of the carder. 

This would be more clear if I could figure out how to get my pictures bigger without distorting them.    





This business of blogging…

Lately I have been inspired and learned a lot of information from reading various blogs.  Since I have some ideas for articles and information that don’t strictly fall into the format of the sample book on my website, I have decided to start up a blog to instruct, inform, entertain and just chat with my fellow citizens of cyberspace.  If you have anything you want to know about that I might be able to help you with, please let me know.
Glenna Chumbley
Texas Charkha Enthusiast.


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