Energized singles

Last month I gave the program at my local spinner’s group on energized singles. ML assigned the topic to me last fall as something to learn about and share with the group. Having proper habits from my student days, I barely started working on it until Saturday afternoon before the Tuesday meeting, which meant I had plenty of time to develop in depth expertise. This is what I came up with for the program.

Energized singles are intentionally spun to not be balanced and then used in such a way as to take advantage of the slant and energy

Best sources:

  • Knitting with Singles by Kathryn Alexander. Spin-Off, Vol.26, No.1 (Spring 2002), p.54-61. The best, most complete source of information.
  • A Study in Zig by Amy Tyler. Spin-Off, Vol. 30, No. 1 (Spring 2006), p.58-64. Focuses on using all Z twist yarn in cand reverse stockinette to achieve the same effects.

Additional information:


  • Stockinette will slant. More balanced structures like garter stitch won’t, but they may still show effects.
  • Slant will be at the same angle as the in the yarn plied back on itself.
  • Use a bigger needle than you might normally use for the size of yarn so the stitches have room to move, but not too big a needle so that the stitch ply onto themselves.
  • Always sample!
  • Some people say you should only spin what you can knit up right away and other people suggest leaving the yarn on the bobbin for a few days so it is easier to handle.
  • When taking yarn off the bobbin, be careful you aren’t adding or removing twist. This is important if you want to keep a project balanced between S and Z twist yarn.
  • When knitting, be aware if you are adding or removing twist. Alexander’s article gives advice on how to avoid this.
  • Merino and other soft yarns relax when finished so don’t tilt as much and are less three dimensional as longer, coarser fibers.
  • Weaves in the ends right away because the will just come apart otherwise.
  • Holding an S and Z twist yarn together also give interesting effects.

energized 1S Spun (spindle), Z spun, Z spun reverse stockinette, Z spun, small amount of S spun, size 3 needles (merino top)


energized 2K4 – P4 1st Z then S then back to Z
K4 – P4 with every 4 stitches changing from Z to S ; switch to S then Z
K1 with Z ; K1 with S ; repeat (only a couple of rows)
2 rows of Z stockinette, 2 rows of S stockinette ; repeat

energized 3Holding S and Z together, size 11 needles, garter stitch (unknown wool)

energized singles 4Bag made of Z spun, size 2 needles (merino roving, 3 different spun at same time to blend)