A Yarn Story: Core Spinning "Ballerina"

By Amelia

Core spinning is one of those fun novelty yarns that isn't too difficult to try. For core spinning, you need a core -- cotton crochet yarn is terrific -- and fiber. Batts are wonderful, roving and combed top work too. Variety in the batt content gives a terrific result, as the direction of the fibers really brings out shine.

Loop SSB Batt and Cotton ... hmmmmmFor my core spinning, I had some red crochet cotton and a lovely red/silver/pink Loop Spontaneous Spinning Batt of wool, bamboo, silk, and flash.

Core spinning is done by holding the core taut, away from the wheel, and allowing the fiber to wrap around it as you put twist in. You need, generally, to be adding twist to the core for the fiber to be caught and hold onto it.

Knowing that to be the case, I wanted to try to get a balanced yarn. So I checked my core crochet cotton closely, and saw it had S (counterclockwise) plying twist in it. I took the ball and ran it through my wheel, putting Z, clockwise, twist on it to take out some of the S twist. I tried to be fairly thorough; the yarn was not completely unplied, but it was definitely loosely plied when I was done. I did this on my spinning wheel at the highest ratio, and was really wishing I'd pulled out my electric wheel, or had one of the kids take a run at it -- kinda tedious. But worth it, in the final result.

I prepared the batt by breaking it into strips, and then breaking those strips into thirds. They were about one inch wide and 6 inches long. I randomly heaped them on the arm of my chair. Before I used each piece, I drafted it out to about 12 inches long, so it was a bit thinner but still fairly solid.

the left hand, draftingNow, I took my bobbin of underplied crochet cotton, attached it to the leader on my wheel, and held the end of a batt piece perpendicular to it. As I treadled, I let (helped) the batt piece wrap around the crochet cotton, drafting against it a little bit as needed for coverage. I aimed for complete coverage, no cotton showing through.

I drafted against the fiber as my right hand held it on the twisting core and let it wrap.

drafting on the goAs I approached the end of one piece of fiber, I would stop with about 3 inches remaining, prepare the next piece, lay the ends over each other, and return to treadling and wrapping.

This is a little bit like coil spinning, in that one fiber wraps the other, but has its own classification since the coils here are unspun fiber.

Loop SSB Metalmark Corespun ... Pirouette!You do end up adding a fair bit of twist in to get the fiber to wrap on your core reasonably tightly. In the end, I was glad to have taken the twist out of the red crochet cotton, and may even take more out next time I do this, to allow me even more running room for twisting on the wrapping fibers.

My skein size was limited by the length of the red crochet cotton. It turned out to be 144 yards (I guess the 150 yard ball was a little short, it was with my Christmas crochet .... hmmm, I wonder if I have a green batt somewhere...), 4.4 ounces.

There was some leftover fiber, so I spindle-spun that up for a demonstration on how to put a spindle down mid-way through spindling.
Leftover Loop on Spindle ...

The skein is now dubbed "Ballerina". The mini-skein is a spindle-spun 2-ply of the fiber left once I'd run out of core yarn.
Ballerina and

And yes, you can corespin Crosspatch Batts ... see what At Yarn's End did with Sugar and Spice, and on a spindle, too! Great tips on that on the Ravelry spindlers forum.

If you enjoyed this post, and would like to know more about core-spinning as well as a fun core-spun knitting project, The Medallion Scarf, I'd love it if you purchased my e-tutorial, Core Spinning and the Medallion Scarf.

For related posts on coil yarns, boucle, and other fun yarns, see the Art Yarn category.

(In case you are wondering ... yes, my blog got hi-jacked too. For a great writeup on what to do if this happens to you, see Leigh's Fiber Journal. I hope only the hi-jackers mind the extra text that's now at the start and end of each post.)

posted 27 December 2008 at http://askthebellwether.blogspot.com/


Leigh said...

I'm so sorry you had content stolen too. It's a horrible thing to experience and I guess I'll never understand the mindset that does it.

That aside, "Ballerina" is yummy! Good explanation of core spinning, too.

knittingdragonflies said...

I love the pics' wow, they are beautiful. Sorry about your content problems, how terrible.

Anonymous said...

Here's a tip I picked up: instead of untwisting your cotton core first, wind it on a drop spindle. As you spin, the extra twist is expended by the spinning spindle! It IS a bit of a pain having to stop and unwind more cotton as you use what's loose but it saves a lot of time in the end because you don't have to prepare the cotton ahead of time! Thought you might like to try it! Happy New Year!

Kate said...

thanks for explaining core spinning so well :) and your end result, yummy!

heartstone said...

Aloha! I enjoyed this post. I do the exact same thing with the core line that you do because I also want a more balanced product in the end.

Happy spinning!