Who knew? It’s as simple as purchasing a skein of super bulky weight acrylic yarn, unplying it, then respinning it. Voila, new acrylic yarn.

Yarn Bee Twirl-Tastic — 8 oz, 14.8 yd, yarn weight category 6; 55% Polyester, 45% Acrylic

Wait. Did I say simple? Inasmuch as spinning is simple, yes, this is simple. But there’s the matter of unplying the yarn. Not so simple or, at least, not QUICK.

First I checked the yarn to be sure I could draft it out thinner than it already was.

Yarn Bee Sweet Shades — 3.5 oz, 23 yd, yarn weight category 6; 60% Acrylic, 40% Polyester

As long as the fiber isn’t twisted, it drafts out as easily as most wool.

Here are some tips for unplying:

  • Use a clean, clutter-free surface. Because bulky yarn doesn’t have a lot of yardage, it won’t take long to pull it out of the ball into a heap.
  • Begin unplying. The first few feet will seem fun, but you’ll soon realize what a PROJECT you’ve just undertaken. This is why you need a clutterless surface. I recommend standing up too, so get yourself a nice audio book to listen to…
  • My yarn has three plies, so I used three empty TP tubes to wrap the plies around. Make slits at either end of the tube.
  • Roll each ply around its tube as you unply. Rolling—as opposed to wrapping (which has a spiral/twisting direction to it)—the yarn will help you avoid adding more twist. This only takes a little more effort than wrapping.
  • Remove excess twist from the plies as you go.

    Untwist the kinks; flatten the ply as you roll it onto the tube

  • As you work, tell yourself, “There’s probably an easier way to do this. Someone will come along and tell me what it is after I’ve finished.”
  • Hold the plied yarn above your head and let it hang down (like a yo yo at the end of its string) with the TP tubes at the nether end. This encourages the yarn to untwist and makes unplying easier. Use your fingers to separate the plies and slide them gently toward the TP tubes. It may be necessary, after separating the three strands, to allow each individual ply to hang and untwist.
  • I soon discovered the need for little clips to secure the tubes. It’s necessary to wrap the ply tightly or it won’t stay on the tube.

    Use clips to secure each ply to its tube

It took about one hour to unply 23 yards.

Three plies ready to spin into thinner yarn!

Here’s the yarn on the wheel. It took a little getting used to, but really behaved more or less the same as wool/silk blends.

To see what I eventually did with the yarn, see Part 2.

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