What is Spindle Splicing?

This is the interesting place where two different topics -- spindle-spinning and nalbinding -- come together in a really cool synchronicity.

In Nalbinding, you work with 1-2 yard lengths of yarn, and rather than weaving in all the ends you'd get in a pair of socks, you "splice" the ends together. There's the Russian Join, the felted join, and ... the "spindle splice", a phrace recently coined by Cedric on the Yahoogroups nalbinding list.

I think this is a terrific idea, so this is what I plan to do with my nalbinding work-in-progress!

Take the ball of yarn and stuff it onto a spindle shaft. Top or bottom, it won't matter much, though I'll probably grab a bottom whorl spindle so I can half-hitch more easily to hold the yarn on the spindle. Break off a one yard length to nalbind with, fluffing out both ends of the break.

Spindle-spun Yarn Cake!
Now, by break, I don't mean cut -- I mean break. With handspun fibers, especially singles, this is relatively easy -- you "unspin" the yarn and pull it apart. Then you get two fluffy ends. Perfect for the spindle splice.

Nalbind until you have a few inches and fluff left, then take the nalbound-fluff end and the spindle-fluff end and "spin" a join into being between them. Joins aren't easy, but they are doable, and with practice they get more reliable.

Then, unwind another yard off the spindle, repeat the break-nalbind-join etc. until your item is done or it's time to move onto the next ball of wool.

Yay! Yarn, a plan, and a pattern (Larry Schmidt's Hats Off! Swedish Chef's Cap!). This is progress.

(based on an inquiry on the nalbinding list, 18Apr07)

You know, this would work really well with knitting, too .... hmmmm time to start a bigger-than-one skein project!


kim said...

You are great! Your posts are so informative. I love your blog!

Amelia of Ask The Bellwether said...


I've played with cutting and retwisting plyed yarns a bit too. My techniques there never pleased me, though. I've run across this technique:


and I think it may be very, very useful for joining plied yarns. So nalbinding 2-ply may have just gotten a little bit easier :-)