Handspun Self Striping 2 ply Yarn Tutorial

photographs and text by Rachel Jones of OnTheRound

This is a simple tutorial to show you how to spin a self striping 2ply handspun yarn. I used my Pastel Rainbow Merino Wool Spinner’s Pack- available here, but you can use any wool you like! I recommend using 3 or more colors, just be mindful off how much your bobbin can hold. My spinner’s pack includes approximately 3.5 oz of merino wool dyed in 7 different colors- Rose Pink, Peach, Lemon, Nile Green, Aqualon Blue, Baby Blue, and Violet. You can use this technique for any yarn weight you like- just remember while you are spinning your singles that it is going to be twice as thick when you ply. For this tutorial I am going to spin about a fingering weight single which will result in about a DK weight 2 ply.

Pastel Rainbow Merino Wool Spinners Pack by OnTheRound

The first thing you are going to do is split each different color in half. You can do this by weighing out the wool to ensure equal parts, or you can do it like I do and just eye ball it. Once you have split the wool up, lay it out in the order that you are going to spin it, this will keep you from spinning the wool out of order.

Split your roving into 2 even pieces.

Notice how I laid the colors out- the purple is the last color in the skein so it in the middle. You will spin you last color all in one long row and then repeat the color order backwards so that you end with the color you began with.

Split your roving in halves or thirds.

Divide or draft each piece of roving into thin strips, this will help even out the color on your hand dyed wool.

Keep joining the new colors all on one bobbin.

Spin through each color strip you have laid out. Join on a new color by holding the new fiber at a 90 degree angle from the spun strand and core spin it on to attach. Make sure your yarn is joined securely so it doesn’t break when you are plying.

Wind your full bobbin off into a center pull ball.

Once your bobbin is full, wind it off into a center pull ball using a ball winder. If you are not comfortable with this technique you can spin each half of the yarn onto separate bobbin’s and ply that way (in that case, divide all the colors in half, including the purple).

After you have finished spinning your single, be sure to give your yarn at least 12 hours to rest before plying. Allowing your yarn to rest will help ensure your finished yarn is balanced.

Remove some yardage from the single to make the colors line up.

Once your yarn has rested begin plying- remember to ply in the opposite direction that you spun the original single in.

I like each color change to have a slight overlap. For example, I like the pink to merge in with the orange for a yard or so before the 2 orange strands come together. If you feel like there is too much color overlap, break color strand off that is too long to remove the extra yardage. Reattach where the new color begins and continue plying. You can see in the picture above I had to remove a bit from all most all of the color changes.

Ta-Dah! Finished 2ply, self striping yarn.

And that’s it! Now you have a perfect self striping skein of handspun yarn.

Self striping yarn is super fun to knit up. It is ideal for hats and cowls, the yoke on a sweater or my personal favorite, shawls! If you have two skeins of matching striping yarn you could make a pair or striped socks or some mittens!

 Whatever you choose to do – get creative and have fun!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial, if you have any questions or comments, please leave them here in the comments section or email me at rachel@ontheround.com. And please share your work HERE in my Facebook Fan Page.

Happy Spinning!