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re-spinning yarn

seaphish's picture

Hello All,

I am sorry if this question has already been answered!  I know there is a discussion on "over spinning" commercial yarns for use in warp faced weaving somewhere in this group, but I can't find it.  :(

I understand that inexpensive acrylic yarns with fun, bright colors can be used for this type of weaving.  I am wondering how exactly I should go about overspinning this type of yarn? 

1.  will yarn meant for knitting (loose and fluffy) work?

2.  Do I need to unply a 4 ply, overspin then reply and overspin again? 

3.  Is this possible on my drop spindle?


Sorry if these are lame questions.



Joined: 06/20/2009
Carolyn, I am afraid that I

Carolyn, I am afraid that I am not very scientific when it comes to this and I think my answers probably horrify the hard core spinners out there. The best advice I can give you is overspin and sample. Every yarn will behave differently. I have always done it on my drop spindle as do the weavers here. I wove with overspun acrylic in Potosi and overspun wool when I was living in Chile.

I just spin it until it kinks back on itself and feels smooth . Avoid spinning to the point where it feels "hard". Spin up a bit for a short narrow warp and test it out. Be aware that when you take this warp off the stakes it will curl up on itself with the overtwist. Try to hold it under tension until you get it onto the loom bars or have someone help you.

i can't answer your question about the 4-ply but my feeling is that you won't need to unply it. Loose, fluffy yarn meant for knitting can be used-I have used it myself. Even after overspinnig you will get some pilling but nothing too bad.

I am sure someone else will be along with contributions to this discussion.

What are you going to make?





Caroline's picture
Joined: 06/09/2009
Carolyn, you do not need to

Carolyn, you do not need to unply before overspinning, and a spindle is probably the best way to do this! Its much easier to keep up a constant rate of twist on the spindle, and you can soon tell if you have over or underspun, something its a bit harder to do on a wheel, though that is much quicker. I have overspun using both methods. One thing i do is get the re-pun yarn into a ball as quickly as possible and not skein it,  because once its skeined, it has a chance to straighten out a bit, and as Laverne said, its going to get horribly twisted once the tension slackens.

Good luck with this. Remember the yarn will become a little bit finer once its overspun, so allow for that when working out the width and length of anything you are going to weave! And the fabric you create will be a little bit stiffer and thicker, but its a good trade-off for the fabulous colours you will have access to!

Cheers, Caroline

seaphish's picture
Joined: 06/08/2009
Thank you Laverne and

Thank you Laverne and Caroline!

I think you have answered enough questions for me to give this a try. 

I have been reading for a long time about using acrylic yarn this way, but was imagining all of the unplying and replying and it just sounded really daunting.  I think unknitting and unweaving are not too bad, but unplying is no fun at all.

As to what I will do with it, I have a whole bunch of left overs (both wool and acrylic) that are too short to really make a useful knitting project and I thought I could use them in Andean Pebble  bands.  I wonder if overspinning will make the wool less sticky?

I have a turkish drop spindle.  I wonder if I could overspin, then just leave the yarn in the little ball created by the spindle till I am ready to warp?  If that is not a tight enough ball I could easily wind it into a tighter butterfly.

Since I am working on my rigid heddle loom, this sounds like a project for direct warping.  That way I wont have to transfer the warp from my warping board.



Caroline's picture
Joined: 06/09/2009
I would not have thought the

I would not have thought the ball from a Turkish spindle would have enough tension to hold the overplied yarn in place. I would give it try with a small sample though, just to see what happens, because its certainly quicker than having to wind off from a regular spindle under tension, without unplying as you go. You should be able to make the ball under tension - I'm just not sure what will happen to the innermost yarn once you leave holes for it to expand into.

Just something to consider and then experiment with.

Please let us know how you go, as I have a Turkish spindle without fibre to keep it busy!

Cheers, Caroline