Several people asked how I was going to go about un-plying my three-strand Paternayan yarn. Siince I need to do it to swatch, here’s how I plan on doing it.

You can see the skein as the maker intended, set up on my swift. I’ve got my ball winder out, too. I usually don’t bother with it unless I’m?dealing with?lace or fingering weight yarn (that’s more yardage than I’ve got stamina for hand-winding). This time however I need it as an extra pair of hands. In fact, ideally I’d have an extra-extra pair of hands.

The plan is to let the skein of yarn spin freely on the swift, while I?take up two plies on the ball winder, and ball up the remaining ply by hand. Now you can see why a friend or biddable child to turn the crank on the ball winder would be a great convenience. As it is, I have to advance a bit on the machine-aided ball, then catch up to myself on the hand-wound single ply ball. All the while, I have to go gently, untwisting and untangling whenever things get too bound up. This is why I’d only attempt this foolhardy maneuver with a yarn as loosely constructed as this one. Even so the sharp-eyed can spot the stuff twisting back on itself just a bit at the point where the one ply is split off the main strand.

O.K. Now when I’ve finished, I’ll have a neat machine-wound little core sample of two-ply yarn, plus a hand-wound ball of one-ply. How to turn the one-ply back into a two-ply?? Simple. I repeat the paring down process on the other skein of yarn, then I place both skeins on the floor or in a box (I’ve heard that cutting the bottom of soda bottles and threading the strand through the neck works wonders). Then I use my ball winder to draw on both at the same time. Minor complication – the variegated won’t match up in color across both plies. I’ll just treat it as another color of variegated, and isolate it in its own stripes or other pattern segment.

Since my original yarn was really just paired rather than twisted together, I don’t think I really need to do a proper twisted plying on my newly formed composite. Of course there may be spinners out there recoiling in horror at this process and half-assed advice. I can envision them ready to leap forward with?sage interjections to save us all and teach us proper plying. I stand open to their suggestions.

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