I have a bag full of yarn left over from the dye experiments that I then used to knit with, which on their own weren't of a large enough quantity to knit with. As I have started to introduce chunky hand knits into my work it seemed natural to want to combine the finer yarns into a chunky yarn, giving more scope for interesting interactions of colour, and preventing waste.
However, knitting the yarns together just by holding them doesn't result in the random effect you might expect from a marled yarn, as the position you are holding each yarn dictates whether it sits at the back or the front or the stitch.
Hague, who make the electric linker that I have in my studio, sell a yarn twister for £150, but I couldn't find any information online as to how effective it was. I asked on the ever helpful Machine Knitting group on Facebook if anyone had used one with some varied responses, most people saying that it was quite slow but did twist the yarns and was particularly good at making chunky yarns. As luck would have it, someone in that group had one for sale and lived in Taunton, so we agreed a price and I went to pick it up. (This is probably the shortest distance I've ever travelled for a piece of knitting machinery!)
The machine works well for my needs to create new chunky yarns. It doesn't create a super tight twist (about 2 twists per inch), so it's not suitable for fine yarns (also due to the fact it is quite slow), but enough to create the random effect I had been looking for. The left hand swatch below contains 3 yarns of different weights, knitted into a sampler of stitch patterns to show the way the twisted yarns react to different knitted stitches. I'm very excited to make some new yarns out of old and produce unique colour and texture combinations!
- Burns, R. 2018. Yarn Twisting 1-4. Photograph.
- Hague. 2018. Hague PDB Electric Yarn Winders. [online] Available from: http://www.haguedirect.co.uk/acatalog/hague_pdb_125g_twister.html [Accessed Jun 18 2018]