How to Cable Yarn on a Spinning Wheel

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To make cabled yarn on a spinning wheel, choose the largest whorl pair that you have, and set the wheel up with an empty bobbin that has a leader attached. You need two full bobbins of your handspun two-ply yarn and a kate. Some transparent tape may also be helpful.

Re-ply the yarn

You begin the process by replying:

  1. Place the two full bobbins on the kate.

  2. Attach one of the two-plies to the empty bobbin. Re-ply it by turning the wheel to the left.

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    This inserts the extra twist that is necessary to make a cable.

  3. Use the orifice hook to ensure that you have enough twist to make a cable.

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    The yarns should snap together, making a new yarn with a braided surface. The yarn should be well balanced and should hang evenly.

    If you do not have enough twist, then adjust the wheel so that it does not pull on as quickly. To put in more twist, try a smaller whorl. Check again to make sure that you have enough twist, and continue to re-ply until you have enough twist.

  4. Adhere the end of the overtwisted two-ply to the bobbin with some transparent tape.

  5. When this bobbin is finished, place it on the kate. Re-ply the next one, secure it, and then place it on the kate.

Cable the yarn

Now you can make the cable:

  1. Set the spinning wheel up using the biggest whorl that you have.

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    These yarns need to pull quickly on the wheel.

  2. Take the two ends of the re-plied two-ply and attach them to the leader on your spinning wheel.

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  3. Spin the wheel to the right to cable.

    You need to hold your hands a little differently for cabling. When you plied, you kept the yarns separated. This time, just hold them loosely together in your fiber hand. There is no need to guide the twist up as you did in plying; as soon as the yarns touch, they will snap together and form the cable.

  4. The cable should form much faster than the plied yarn did. Make sure that you move your hooks often so that the yarn does not build up unevenly.

  5. You might have a little more plied yarn on one bobbin. If there is not more than a foot or two, just fold it back on itself, being careful not to lose the twist. Tuck the end in between the two yarns, and let the twist glue them together.

  6. Make sure that the cabled yarn is balanced before you spin too much onto the bobbin. Just pull several feet of yarn back through the orifice.

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    It should hang straight without any tangling.

  7. Skein off the yarn and wash it in soapy water.


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