Twists Per Inch (TPI)

Friday, I plyed some singles on my wheel for the first time and ended up with a twisted mess that couldn’t be straightened through washing. It was all very sad. Plying on a spindle never produced such horrible results, so I was a little depressed about the whole ordeal.


While at the sale on Saturday, I finally caved in and bought Spinning Wool Beyond the Basics by Anne Field. Although I’ve only flipped through the book, I’ve learned how to regulate twists per inch (tpi) by counting treadle cycles. Only an inch of fiber is feed into the orifice for every revolution of the wheel. Monitoring twist in this way should result in a single with consistent twist through out the thread.

The book mentions keeping track of the wheel revolution by counting on the down pedal but I’ve come up with my own technique. I put a bright sticky note on the top edge of the wheel and watch for it as I spin. Every time I see the sticky note at the top, I feed in an inch of fiber.

The singles are look pretty good but the real test will happen when I attempt to ply. Before my next attempt, I’ll follow the handy 2-ply twist comparison chart in Beyond the Basics to determine the correct plied twist per inch. This chart lists desired tpi for singles along with corresponding tpi for plied yarn. Singles are generally plied with 2/3 of the amount of twist used to spin the singles.

This weekend I also received my Paradise Fiber order which contained a copy of Handspinning Advanced Techniques. It promises to teach me how to “make a plied yarn of any exact thickness with just the amount of twist …” Sounds promising. I started watching it but dozed off after the hand carding segment.

2 thoughts on “Twists Per Inch (TPI)

  1. The Anne Field book is great when you start on the whel.You’ll be amazed how quickly you get to know your yarn & are able to feel the right amount of twist etc.Then it becomes a really pleasurable experience. Don’t expect perfection straight away & don’t be so hard on yourself.Also,it’s good to be so precise when you’re learning but do alow yourself to move on and enjoy the freedom of instinctive spinning. :0)


  2. Emma, thanks so much for the encouragement.
    For the past couple of weeks I’ve been just spinning and not thinking about technique so it was time to slow down and learn how to be more precise. I was frustrated with the last small skein but now I’m starting to find a good balance between instinct and precision.


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