Lately I’ve been playing around with this little gadget called a McMorran balance to measure my yarn. To learn more about how to use this tool check out, Using a McMorran Balance on the All Fiber Arts site.
The yarn in the picture is the Morehouse Merino 2-ply that I talked about in an earlier post. It turns out that 14 inches of this yarn balances perfectly. This means that one pound of it measures 1,400 yards which is exactly what the merino yarn for the Spin-Off sweater should measure.
If you have access to back issues of Spin-Off, I recently found the article, Making Predictable Yarns: Using the McMorran balance as an aid to precise spinning by Jude Daurelle (Summer 1998). She actually measures unspun fibers using the balance and then tries to spin to a predetermined length in an effort to reproduce a specific yarn. So, for example, if I want to achieve a yarn that measures 14 inches long, like the Morehouse Merino, then I’ll try to spin a measured puff of fiber until it is 14 inches long. The author mentions that it takes practice to get good at determining how much fiber to put on the balance but eventually it gets much easier and faster to do once you get the feel.
More on Twist & Balanced Yarn
The other day I came across HJS Studio Tutorials while searching for more info on twist. The tutorial on Plying a Balanced Yarn is especially informative with photos of examples. After reading the tutorial on Spinning Low Twist Singles Yarn, I checked out Paula Simmon’s book, Spinning for Softness and Speed. This book has some interesting ideas on spinning soft yarn that I might try out this weekend.
More Good Spin-Off Articles
Spinning Soft Yarn by Mary Spanos – Summer 2003
Mastering Twist by Rita Buchanan – Winter 1997
An Easy & Accurate Way to Compare Yarns by Rita Buchanan – Summer 1999