Tuesday, December 20, 2016

How I Overcame my Fear of Plying and Lived to Tell the Tale

Years ago, when I was first trying my hand at spindle spinning, someone asked me if I'd plied any yarn yet.  I was so far from even creating yarn at that point that I just gave a hollow laugh.

But now, slightly better at spinning, and now that the Coopworth is finished, and I have merino left I was wondering what to do next.  The merino has sort of lost its loft, so I carded a bit, and made a fluffy mass to spin with, and while I was at it, thought hm, why not make a fun yarn, for knitting or tapestry or anything really.

And, since I had a ball of fluffy fun yarn someone gave me, very soft, seemed compatible with the merino, I took the last ball of merino I'd spun, and figured that I could ply on the spindle by attaching the two yarns together to the spindle and going from there.

It worked amazingly well, considering I'd been thinking plying was very technical and needed all kinds of gizmos and wheelie things and boxes with little doors on them (don't ask, seen all these thing in action on YouTube).  

I now realize that spinning, like gardening and cooking, can be done very simply or can require all kinds of toys to make it work, but that's strictly the choice of the maker. 

I just let the balls of yarn bob about at will while I plied, not worrying too much about exact distribution of twist, it's meant to be a fun yarn, and liking this a lot.  I can ply my own different colored yarns, too, now that my singles are not so hefty.

It would have worked even better if I had remembered two things: to ply in the opposite direction from the spinning, and to observe what the twist on the blue yarn was, s or z.  I spin s, so should have plied z, if I'd remembered.  Fortunately, the fun yarn is forgiving also fluffy enough to hang onto my own yarn if it tried to unwind itself.

The picture shows you the carded fluff I had made the yarn from, but I had no yarn left to show you, so I'm just showing the raw material, along with the blue fuzzy yarn.  I imagine you can spin and ply at the same time if one of your plies is already complete, but not in the hands of this spinner.  Unless you wanted a very chunky art yarn in the ply, really roving plied as if yarn,I guess.  Well, that's for another day.

Currently in the dyebath: the rest of the spun Coopworth, same color as the last lot, and my fingerless gloves knitted from same, just to see if they will look good.  I might need to felt them slightly to reduce the size, since they came out rather generous even for my big mitts, being really a man's pattern.  Or maybe they'll shrink at little overnight in the dyebath.  We'll see tomorrow when they emerge.

All kinds of weaving ideas are coming at me as I spin, not really being a spinning to knit sort of person. And the new plying adventure looks very much like a sparkling sea or maybe dappled sky...stay tuned.  And three plies of some of the green and gold and maybe I'll dye some yarn with black walnut, for shrubbery or foresty sort of effects..more ideas coming at me than I can do at once, how unusual for me(!)

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