Plying with a spindle and rolled bats

So, I just got my very first spindle last weekend, and i made my very first length of wonky yarn. It must have taken me two hours to make barely 3 yards. It’s plied with some commercial stuff, and I think it’s alright for my first attempt, but I’m still a little intimidated by such a simple tool. I want to continue making plied yarn, and I have two questions I’m hoping someone can help me with.

  1. Should I set my singles before plying them?

  2. If you make a bat on a carder, and then roll it into a roll, the fibers are all aligned in circles. Do you unroll this and split it along the parallel lines before you spin it, or do you draft it while it’s all rolled up?


  1. Ply first. Then finish the yarn to set the twist by soaking, spraying, or steaming.

  2. There are several approaches. You can unroll the batt and split it into long strips, which you can then stretch slightly (pre-draft) before spinning. In general, the narrower the strip the finer the yarn. You can also pull off a handful of fiber, tease it apart to fluff it into a little “cloud” and spin from that.

A good beginner’s book on spindling will help you sort out all this confusing stuff. My three favorites are “Spin-It” by Lee Raven; “Spindle Spinning: From Novice to Expert” by Connie Delaney; and “Spinning in the Old Way” by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts.

There are also literally hundreds of spinning demonstrations on youtube, but some are much, much better than others. Look for videos by Abby Franquemont or Beth Smith and you’ll be in good hands.

Thank you for your help. I’ve been reading articles and watching tons of videos, but you helped me answer a few of my lingering questions. I started my first “real” ball of yarn today (more than 3 yards) and it’s coming slowly but surely.