How to spin a 3 Ply, Self-Striping Yarn

I have talked about my spinning process many times, and if you follow me on Instagram, you'll know I always post "progress" pictures of what I am working on. I use IG as an online notebook, as well as a platform for letting people know what I am up to.

Now I have this lovely little corner of the internet all to myself, it's time to give a permanent, accessible and linkable home to my favourite spinning process, the self striping traditional 3 ply worsted-spun yarn.

Why spin this type of Yarn?

This technique is useful is a variety of ways. All you have to do is look at popular commercial yarn brands such as Noro and  Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball to see the striking effect self striping can have, and be used, as a design feature.

Spinning small quantities, 15/20g at a time fo example, is great for a daily spinning regime, when your time is short, but you still need to be creative. You can also just take a "little bit" from all those treasured rovings you have in your stash too.

You know, the ones you are saving, the ones that you'd be sad to use up completely.

I love spinning in small quantities ! Sometimes, you just don't want to take on too much, and you need to have instant gratification !

It keeps you interested, inspired and is also perfect for making blanket squares... just take the pattern "Lizard Ridge" as the perfect example of this.

The sample I made for this tutorial took me less than 3 hours to make, and I am not a super fast spinner...

Having 3 plies within your yarn provides lots of opportunity for colourplay, and the construction means it's sturdy & has great longevity

This is a garment I made a few years ago now, knitted entirely from 3 ply handspun yarn, some of it spun using the technique I am demonstrating to you here. You can clearly see what a stunning effect it has.

The pattern I used is "Elsewhere" by Amy Swenson, and you can buy it here

You will need:

A spinning tool of your choice (wheel or spindle)

3 colour co-ordinating pieces of roving, preferably all weighing roughly the same.

Electronic weighing scales... so you can split these rovings into equal amounts, lengthways.

Here are my choices:

Each piece of roving weighed around 15g.

I chose the orange/yellow to work with, so I could show you how a colour that's so bright on it's own, can be toned down with two other similarly coloured plies. This is uselful for those of you who are not overly fond of certain colours being dominant, but want to include them in some way.

I split the space-dyed orange/yellow into 4 equal pieces, and the semi-solid roving into 3 equal pieces... it didn't really matter what I did with the solid, as it's all the same colour.

I then predrafted it all out, and began spinning. I always predraft, because it helps me to;

  •  Spin evenly

  • Pick out any undesirable things like neps etc

  • In the long run, it saves me time, so I can get a good spinning rhythm going

Once you've spun your 3 separate plies... it's time to put them all together, and watch the magic happen!