Do you have handspinning questions? Are you looking for answers? Don't worry, Ms Spinster understands and is ready and willing to answer any questions. How do you think she came to be nicknamed: PatsyZ Most Excellent Spinnin' Guru.Calm

? For help write to Patsy at spins(at) Your question and her answer could be posted on this web page.

 Use the search tool and category list on the right to find the answer to your question.

Fixing a yarn that has been washed and set.

 Q - Can you change a yarn even though it is already spun, plied, washed and set?

A - Above is a video of the most important part of correcting a yarn 
Here below is a step by step how to that you can read and work your way through. 

Starting with the pink and blue silk yarns that I had hoped to use together but after I started crocheting, I realized that I had spun the blueish one softer and with larger slubs that showed up during the plying.  The two were not going to work together.  

Changing a yarn isn't fast, nor is it guaranteed but if the fiber is precious or expensive like silk, it may well be worth your time. 

To change or fix a yarn you need to realize your options:
A - You can relax tight plying by removing some of the plying twist.
B - You can unply a plied yarn to use as a single or reply with more plies or a different yarn. 
C - You can unply the yarn and draft the single thinner, you CANNOT DRAFT IT THICKER  
D - You can remove some twist from a single that was overspun, which may allow the yarn to puff up more andlook thicker, but that is difficult to do evenly.  

Since this was a small ball of plied silk I choose to remedy the yarn with option C.  

First, I treadle the yarn onto a bobbin with the flyer going Z to remove the S-ply and passing it in when just as it looks like the ply has been removed. I started with the folded end since it had been plied as a ball and I didn't want to cut it.

Second, while still on the flyer and hanging out the orifice, I split the plys and wound one end on each hand, starting around two fingers . When it starts to build I add a third finger and wind more, then I can  remove a finger to keep it from getting too tight.  It's an odd little hand dance, that will end with two small balls still connected.  

If it had been a larger yarn I have used a second spinning wheel with a tight takeup to wind one ply and use a ball winder for the other.  Or my preference when I can lock up all cats, dogs and toddlers, I have simply pulled the plys apart and let them fall in a puddle one on each side of my chair.  As long as nobody messes with each puddle the ends will be on top.  If it was plied from a large ball you will be better off breaking the two sections apart, so you don't disturb the puddles.

As you are pulling it apart there will be areas where you probably went too far with the Z twist, or didn't quite do enough, but with the yarn still in the flyer you should be able to turn the flyer a few times to remedy those situations.

Third, now you need to correct your original problem.  My problem was too soft twist and too large slubs.  

My set up

  1. I set up my mini spinner on a slow Z speed but a slightly stronger takeup since I only needed a bit more twist. 
  2. I put the yarn balls into a zip bag mostly closed so they would not be rolling around the floor to be chased by a kitty. 
  3. After joining the end of the yarn to leader I sat about 4 feet away.  The extra space allowed me to see a slub coming and to work it out before it got the extra twist. 
Reducing slubs: I watched as the yarn went though my hands and if I saw a slub coming I placed my hands more than a fiber length apart at the slub.  Quickly, both hands were reversing the orignal Z twist until I saw untwisted fibers then I drafted just enough to smooth down the slub.  A quick release of the held back twist and I could move the yarn into the orifice and watch for the next slub. 

All that remained was to re-ply the yarn and re-set the twist.  Now I think the yarns will crochet well together to make narrow neck scarf to match this lovely square woven silk shawl that the yarns are sitting on.  Stay tuned for the finished scarf.

This shawl was a precious buy when we visited relatives in  Germany in 1989.  The cousin's wife took me to a weavers studio and where I admired all of her work, but we had a hugh language barrier.  The cousin bought a silk shawl for herself.  After we were back at her house, her husband was able to expain how much it had cost.  "Oh my! Please", I said, "Can you take me back as I also need to buy one."  I have loved it ever since. 

How Do You Wash/Scour Yarn Without Tangling - Part 2

If you have wound your skein on your niddy-noddy, be sure to tie it on several sides.  After your skein is tied in at least 3 if not 4 places, slip the skein off the niddy-noddy.  


How Do You Wash/Scour Yarn Without Tangling - Part 1

No matter how much you spend, a niddy-noddy is the best tool for preparing a skein for washing without tangling. 

Throw-back Thursday, WOW!

A few years back, I had an curious pm on my facebook page.  
Did I live in Plentywood, MT in the 70s? 
Did I teach 1st grade?  I think you were my teacher.  

How Did I Come to be a Spinner - Part 3

Clearly I was a seamstress and a weaver, but spinning did not intrigue me in the least.  What I didn’t understand was my husband's point of view.  He knew 

1) nothing would keep me from attending this group.

How Did I Come to be a Spinner - Part 2

 After my husband Rich had finished his seminary degree, we moved to his first ELCA Lutheran parish in Brandon, South Dakota. 

I took a rigid heddle weaving class in nearby Sioux Falls. 
As an accomplished seamtress, weaving was nothing short of amazing!  That I could create cloth, unbelievable!  This colorful little mat was my first night’s weaving, I was only to do an inch, instead I couldn't stop and had to re-warp the loom before next week's class.  

How Did I Come to be a Spinner - Part 1

 As many spinners students have heard me mention, it was not my plan.  I just loved textiles, I've always loved the fabric store, and just the feel of any finished garment.  

Born in North Carolina, in a southern family, my given name is Patsy Sue Goodman. It was always assumed I would know how to sew and would be a mom. I learned to sew early, made my father a button up shirt in fourth grade on the treadle sewing machine he had electrified.  


Having the initials P S Z, I offer this hint to my students. Think of how your hand moves when you BEGIN to print a big letter Z, your hand moves to the right in the same direction we read, and the same as the hands on an old-fashioned clock. 
Yarn Structure Workshop at WGGB, Weavers Guild of Greater Baltimore

I just finished a first-time workshop named Yarn Structure.  As you may guess this combined old and new concepts.  It also proved to be a more than two-day workshop squeezed into two days.  I'm posting this as a reference for my students and as a reference for those inquiring about my workshop style.