Monday, June 2, 2014

A Miracle!

Surely a sign of the upcoming apocalypse or, on a more positive note, a miracle of some sort. I've actually spun and plied some roving in the same month in which I purchased it!

Navajo plying: color transition
Back at the beginning of May, I went to Maryland Sheep and Wool and battled the crowded Fiber Optic Yarns booth to pick up some merino/silk blend gradient roving. I selected a lovely blue gradient, going from a very light sky blue progressing to a midnight blue-black. A stunning red to black gradient also leaped into my bag.

A weeks ago, I started spinning the blue gradient. After a couple of color changes, I got smart and worked out a system for managing the color transitions. I tried to break the braid apart into 12-18" pieces in a spot where the colors changed. Then, after separating out the larger piece of roving into smaller, more manageable strips, I began spinning the tips of each strip where the already spun color was. When I hit the next color, I stopped and went to the next strip of roving. That gave me a nicer color transition.

I was focused on spinning fine singles, but not cobweb thin. I wanted to end up at a decent fingering-ish weight yarn after plying. I'd already decided to Navajo ply to maintain the color transitions. I'm not a big fan of barber-poling handspun. I also focused on not including a lot of twist in my singles. Previously, I've tended to over-twist my singles resulting in those little pigtailing sections. Consistency was my watch word.

In what felt like record time, I was ready to ply. In the past, I've had my singles snap on me at thin spots. This time, I was pleased to get through plying with only 1 breakage. Noticeable improvement is always encouraging!

Final transition to light blue.
I really enjoyed watching the color changes. I kept my treadling slow and steady and moved my hands deliberately, trying to keep the yarn plying in a consistent manner.

Surprisingly (or not), the plying took several hours which I managed with only 1 break to answer the door.

I really love my Woolee Winder for enabling me to focus on spinning instead of moving my yarn manually along the bobbin. The only 'issue' was that I didn't get to see the color transitions progress up the bobbin. Each color gets covered up by the new color. But I won't complain!

I decided to let the plied yarn rest on the bobbin for 24 hrs - more because I forgot to skein it before going to bed than due to any patience on my part.

On Sunday I wound it onto my niddy noddy, valiantly attempted to keep track of how many times I wrapped it so I could estimate yardage.
On the niddy noddy, waiting for a bath

I'm pretty sure it's around 260 yards of 3 ply yarn. And doesn't it look darn pretty wound up like that?

I've also learned to not wind it so tightly on the niddy noddy. Makes it much easier to remove the yarn.

Here it is, waiting for its bath:

I'm extremely proud of this skein. It turned out very well balanced, with very few pig tail corkscrews. I think it needs to be a shawl.

I'm looking forward to spinning up my other Fiber Optic braid and seeing the red to black transition.


  1. OMB, this is gorgeous!


  2. Yay, Mo! You're spinning again! I look forward to seeing what shawl pattern you select.