Enhancing Lace Weight Yarn

I have been knitting for about 50 years, and spinning for about 4 years, but not regularly. I decided to knit a shawl and ordered “lace weight” wool, silk yarn blend. Well, it’s much more aggravating than I thought to knit with a yarn that’s about the thickness of #10 crochet thread. I have lots of mohair, merino, llama carded fleece. I was thinking that maybe I could either do a sort of core spinning and spin the lace weight, but not so thin by added the fleece to thicken it. Or, as another option, spin a thin yarn and then ply with the lace weight yarn.

I would like to know from experienced spinners which option they would recommend, if either, or maybe something else to try. I hate to waste the purchased lace weight yarn, but I don’t have the patience or inclination to keep trying to use the lace wt to knit a shawl. I could wear out the yarn just knitting and frogging it out, not to mention fraying my nerves as well. I would appreciate any ideas that you might have and thanks for your help.


If you corespun it, you would hide the original yarn. You bought that yarn/colorway for a reason & it would be a shame to hide it.

Plying it with a secondary yarn is a good idea. Make sure you find out which way the original yarn was spun (Z or S) and spin the second yarn the same way. You may have to run the yarn through the wheel to put a little extra twist into it so that it will not untwist when you ply it with the second yarn.

A third option would be to chain ply (Navajo ply) the yarn. You would end up with less yardage and would have to change patterns though.

Thank you for your reply. I ordered the yarns online, so I’m not particularly bonded to the selection if I did core spinning, but images of core spun yarn all look lumpy and sort of higgley-piggley, I don’t think that would work for making a slightly more robust lace weight yarn for a shawl. Unless you think that core spinning can be done in a way that’s suitable for a shawl pattern, I guess that option 2 might be the best solution.

The original is a 2-ply silk and wool, combination so I guess that the different strands were probably spun the same direction and then plied together in the opposite direction. If I spin the way that the original strands were spun, will they “unspin” the original plys when I try to ply them together?

I know this is a long and complicated question, but if you can help, I’d be grateful.

Thank you again.

I’ve never been a fan of core spinning. The yarn I’ve made from the attempts I tried resulted in very stiff yarn that I ultimately used in my weaving.

To add another ply, you would have to ply it in the opposite direction that it was originally plied.

So if the original singles were spun ‘Z’ and plied ‘S’, you would have to spin a single ‘S’ and then ply it with your 2-ply ‘Z’.

I would first run your 2-ply through your wheel putting a [I]very little bit[/I] more of a twist into it so that it won’t ‘un-ply’ and you will have a balance yarn when you ply it with your 3rd single.

Use your largest whorl with a fast take up so you won’t put too much twist into the original 2-ply. Bonus! This will be the easiest way to determine which way to spin your 3rd single, also.

When you ply the 3rd single with the original 2-ply yarn, do so in the opposite direction.

Thanks for the useful advice. I looked up both wrap and core spinning and neither seem to be right to get a slightly thicker yarn, but one suitable to knitting a shawl. I think spinning another thin one-play yarn and then plying it to the first yarn seems right, if I can do it without unwinding everything.

You can do it!! :thumbsup: