Swivel technique for unplying tapestry yarn

Swivel technique for unplying tapestry yarn

Hi. I am going to show you the technique that
is used for unplying a two ply yarn. I call this the swivel technique because you use
a fishing swivel to unply the yarn. For most of my classes I use this yarn. It is Harrisville
Highland and it is a two ply yarn. There are many instances in which you may want to actually
divide a two ply yarn in half. Or perhaps a four ply yarn or a six ply yarn. When you
are doing something like the split weft technique to create a very straight line in your tapestry,
you have to divide your yarn bundle. If you’re using a yarn like this Harrisville Highland
that is two ply, the best way to do that is just to divide it in half. If you’re using
a larger bundle of four, five, six smaller strands of yarn obviously if they’re singles
yarn you just use half of them for that technique. I also use this swivel technique extensively
in my work with color gradation. And if you take one of my color gradation classes you
will go home with a swivel because it is such a useful tool in dividing a two ply yarn in
half. To demonstrate this technique I am going to show you how I would unply both of these
colors and then if your’re doing some color grading you’ll want to ply them back together.
So I will show you how to do that. For the split weft technique where you’re making a
straight line in your tapestry, you only need half of the bundles so you won’t be plying
them back together. To start with you’ll need two lengths of yarn, one of each color. If
you’re going to do the gradation technique. If you’re just unplying the yarn you just
need one piece of yarn. A short length works better to start with. When you get more familiar
with this technique you can have a piece of yarn as long as the room that you’re standing
in and you can unply it. But I would start with no more than a couple yards. So take
your first piece of yarn and we’re going to attach it to a swivel. I have here a number
five two hundred pound test fishing swivel. I assume these are used for really big fish.
I can’t find them in my local fishing store in New Mexico. I order them online. So you
tie one of the ends of the swivel to a solid piece of something. A loom or a spool rack
or something that isn’t going to move. Or you know, nail it to your wall. And then put
a slip knot on the other ring on the other side. So just tie a slip knot so you can get
that off again. Back to the end of your yarn and untwist the end. You are going to pull
those two plys apart and what the swivel does is allows the yarn to untwist without tangling.
Sometimes you have to shake it a little bit to get it to go. You get to the end and you
have two nicely unplyed bundles of yarn. Now, lay those down and if you’re going to actually
mix two colors of yarn, pick up your other piece of yarn that was the same length as
the first one you did. Unply it again. Pull the two ends apart and allow that spinner
to spin. Take one of each of those two bundles, this is if you’re mixing the colors and put
the ends together. And you are going to hold the two bundles in one hand and pinch with
a finger. So I’m holding the bundles here and I am allowing the yarn here to twist back
together. The yarn has a memory so it will reply itself, although it is not identical
to the machine plyed yarn of course. So let the end dangle and watch it spin. And you’ll
have a yarn that is a mix of the two colors that you just unplyed and plyed back together.
Here is a closeup of putting those two bundles together. So I’ve pulled apart two different
colors of purple and I want to mix them probably because I’m going to create a gradation of
some kind. So you take the two ends. I am going to hold the bundles here in my fist
and I am just going to tug them out a little bit at a time. Let them twist back together.
The yarn has memory and it will twist back into a plyed yarn, at least this Harrisville
Highland will. Again, just pull out enough that they’re all straight, there is no little
loops, let it twist back together. Here is the swivel that I am using. It has, it isn’t
a split ring, it is a solid ring swivel. And I don’t think it really matters which end
you tie to the solid piece. Take the end of your yarn and put it through the other end
and I tie this kind of a slip knot. I just bring it around and pull a loop through leaving
your tail. When you get to the end you can just flip that tail off and pull the yarn
out. Okay, when you’re starting to unply a length of yarn with the swivel technique,
start a couple inches from the end of the yarn and untwist it from there. I can see
where the two plys are and I stick my fingernail between them. Grab the other one and pull
out towards the end. That is much easier, for this and if you’re splicing yarn while
you’re weaving, than if you try to pick the end apart and untwist. Okay. From here, hold
each ply between your thumb and index finger. Start to pull apart a little bit. Hook with
your pinky around each of the plys. Rotate your hand and pinch again. So I am creating
little loops here between my pinky and my thumb and index finger. And I am going to
let go with my pinky. Hold onto the rest of the loops with your thumb and index finger.
Keep unplying. Hook. Pinch. Hook. Pinch. Hook. Pinch. And at the end you have a little bundle
of yarn between your thumb and index finger in each hand. And you just untie that little
slip knot and you have two small bundles of yarn. Here is a close-up of the kind of swivel
that I am using. This is actually an SPRO ball bearing swivel. I got these at Cabelas
but you could get them a lot of different places. It is a size five, two hundred pound
test. And they are about seven or eight bucks for two of them. I’ve tried larger sizes.
I’ve tried a number 8. It is easier to get the yarn hooked into the bigger ones but they
don’t spin as well. I don’t recommend the eight. The sixes work pretty well. So I would
recommend a size five or a size six ball bearing swivel and you don’t need the split ring kind.
You can just get the welded rings.


  • Maria Roble Moreno Diaz

    February 22, 2014

    Puedes traducir el video gracias

  • dawn klug

    February 24, 2017

    Thank you for this handy helper Rebecca!

  • Fran Noerr

    November 23, 2017

    Thank you so much


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