Whirligig Hat • spin the yarn

by Anne Podlesak

I normally find myself spinning sportweight or lighter yarns, and I wanted to challenge myself to spin a worsted to Aran weight yarn that would be warm and windproof for late-winter wear.

spinning aran yarnThe original roving was a blend of 50% baby mohair and 50% merino wool from the Squoosh Etsy store.  It was handpainted in a pretty blend of dark rose, pale pink, and some earthy-green tones.   I don’t often work with mohair – sometimes it can make a yarn too fuzzy or too coarse – but this baby mohair component was a delightful addition.   The only preparation I needed to make to spin the roving was to strip it into 4 equal lengthwise sections, to break up the color runs a bit.  Otherwise, it spun smoothly and was absolutely pristine and a joy to work with.

I had divided the original 3.5 ounces of roving into 2 equal amounts (this was basically two of each of the lengthwise strips) and spun each of them onto a bobbin as a singles yarn using a combination of forward drafting and a backward supported draft, but smoothing the singles down as I allowed the twist into them to create a semi-worsted yarn.  I then plied the two bobbins together to get a plump but smooth Aran-weight yarn.

Other similar fibers that would work well to create a similar yarn would be long-fibered breeds, such as a softer Romney or Cotswold, other wool/mohair blends or even a wool/silk blend to achieve a similar sheen in the finished yarn.

spinning aran yarnTo finish the yarn, I wound it off onto my skein winder, added choke-ties, and then let it soak for an hour or so in a lukewarm bath with some wool wash soap added to it. I spun out the excess water, gave the skein a couple of snaps to align the fibers and then allowed it to air dry.

Finished Technical Details: A 2-ply, Aran-weight yarn, 156 yards in the skein (713 ypp) from 3.5 ounces, with 10 wpi.

Photos © Anne Podlesak

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