As I am beginning to work more mindfully and deliberately at improving my spinning quality and consistency, I am learning about the importance of things I had previously not given much (or any) thought to as a beginner.
Wraps per inch has always been a useful concept, but only as it relates to a finished product. I had never given it any thought as it relates to yarn-in-progress. I am beginning to learn (finally), that a finished yarn can be consistent throughout the entire skein. There doesn't need to be a LOT of variation, or even very much at all. If you stop to check your work periodically, just as you might stop to check your gauge periodically throughout a knitting project, you will end up with a much better quality yarn.
Right now, I am spinning a bump of Shetland roving into a fine lace yarn for a shawl. I will need about 1000 yards. In prior projects, I have always started spinning, finished spinning, wound and measured my yarn, and then been inevitably disappointed as I have fallen short of my spinning goal - often by several hundred yards.
This time, I have started differently. To begin with, I spun a sample. It was not a big sample. A mere few yards to give me an idea of how heavy the finished yarn will be. But several yards of a sample also gives me a good idea of:
A) my weight to yardage ratio, or yards per pound. This tells me how much yarn I can expect to get at my desired weight. I will do a separate post another time about the math involved in figuring out ypp. Basically, the short version is to spin a sample of a few grams, figure out how many yards are in a gram or an ounce, and then multiply that by the correct number to figure out how many yards to a pound or grams to a meter, etc.
B) my twist angle. My current yarn has a twist angle of 15degrees, give or take a bit. If I want the finished yarn to look consistent throughout, I can stop and check the angle once in a while. What you see in the picture above is a printed protractor. Whether you use the top or both depends on whether you are spinning s- or z-twist, which I'm not going to get into right now. Lay the yarn on top of your printed protractor and line up the twist angle. I think I'll do a more in depth post on this later when I don't have Mouselette asking me 59 million questions.
C) my wraps per inch. This tells me what the yarn weight is, whether that be laceweight or bulky. This gives me an idea what sort of project would look great with this yarn.
In short, keeping the twist and wraps per inch as consistent as possible throughout the spinning project will help me wind up with a more consistent and balanced yarn at the end.