Fixing Breaks and Making Joins

...or Process Part 3 of Spinning Yarn on a Spindle. Part 1. Part 2

There are days when spinning comes easy. I can pick up the spindle and find my rhythm immediately. Yarn just seems to spring from my fingers and all I have to do is wind it on the spindle before things touch the ground. The only time I have to make a join is when I need more fiber. I’m in the zone. 

Then are days where the spindle drops every 30 seconds and I’ve got a pile of loose, under spun fiber that couldn’t hold a paperclip off the ground. Bah. Once I get so frustrated that I want to jumble up everything into a giant felted ball, I put the spindle down and walk away. Better to calmly fix something the next day than rip it to shreds in frustration. Thankfully, fixing breaks isn’t a difficult, drawn out process.

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Join1.jpg

When it’s time for more fiber, fan out the end of the fiber coming off the spindle and the end of the new fiber.

Join2.jpg

Overlap the two ends by about 3” and start drafting and adding twist. If you just add twist without drafting the join will be lumpy and bulkier than the surrounding single.

Join3.jpg

Keep spinning and keep joining and, soon enough, you’ll have a full spindle. 

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Joining new fiber and fixing a broken single on a spindle are, essentially, the same process. Usually, a single breaks because there isn’t enough twist to hold it together. The ends won’t immediately untwist and become a frazzled mess but they won’t always salvageable. Sometimes, you just have to pull out the weak parts and get back to business. When joining two ends of single back together, just overlap the ends by about 6 to 12” and add more twist. Wind the join onto the spindle and keep going. That’s all there is to it.

If you have a broken single and need to join it a bit of un-spun fiber, draft out the fiber and overlap the two pieces by 12”. Wind yarn off the spindle to work with if need be. “Park and Draft” is your best friend here since it lets you slowly add twist and test the join to see if it holds. Plus, it might be more difficult to draft if the single was tightly spun. 

Good luck and don’t be afraid of a little practice.