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Saturday, May 24

Colorways, Navajo plying, and projects

Just a quick update on the yarn from the alpaca roving I wrote about in my last post. I have around 1,000 yards, with 6 oz left to spin. Here's a picture of one of the skeins that has been wound on my ball winder. I usually don't ball my yarn up until I'm really ready to use it, but I am dying to knit a sample from it! The skeins came out really light and airy, and have a WPI of 21 (wraps per inch for you non-spinners). I think it will make fabulous socks! I have enough to also do a scarf. With the extra left on one bobbin, I plied it with some extra wool I had on another bobbin from the Dr. G's Vest I spun the yarn for (mentioned in a previous blog...)

Upcoming projects (as always, click on the pics for a larger view)

Silk Lace: At the knitting retreat we had a schwag* event where you pick numbers and
the lowest numbers get to pick first, etc. I was number 12 out of 20 something because I was a "Chatty-Cathy", so I missed out on some really great stuff, although what I got was wonderful too.

I picked out a skein of Cherry Tree Hill cascade lace (1,000 yards of 100% silk) in a beautiful Martha's
Vineyard colorway with purples, blues, and greens. (Funny how all three things I got at the Retreat have the same colors! Just different shades and blends.) The silk makes the colors shimmer. I have no idea exactly what I'm going to do with it.

Soysilk: This was a lovely gift for being a workshop presenter. It's 50/50 s
oysilk and merino. It's called Karaoke, in the Mermaid colorway, with plum, seaweed green and some light olive greens (others may say teals, purples and blues, but I'm blue/green colorblind, so what do I know!). I pulled the roving into 2 long strips, then broke just one into 4 more. I spent some time attenuating just one strip--the "silk" feels just like real silk, has the same shimmer, and has the same "tacky" feeling from being dyed, ie., it clumps some. This made attenuating a bit of fun. Not! But, the time I spent attenuating (also called predrafting) was well worth the effort. The fiber drafted well when I spun it, and I spun enough to make a sample swatch.

I really wanted to maintain the colors in the plying, so I spun up a bit on just one bobbin, then I Navajo plied the single, with my wheel set at moderate uptake, I treadled verrrryyyyyyy sllllooooowwwwly.... Navajo plying turns a single ply into a 3-ply. I
t's like finger crocheting. You pull out a loop from the main "line" about 10-20", or shorter (when pulled out, the loop now has two "sides"), the leader then wraps around the two "sides", thus making a 3-ply. This takes a LOT of practice! If you treadle too fast, it's just a harsh, tight and overplied yarn. I really wanted this to be soft, and to maintain the color changes at the same time. One hard part is to ensure that where the loop meets the next loop that there is not an overlap, because you can see this. Navajo plying (in my opinion) works better on thinner yarn because the "join" is less obvious. For a lesson and video clip go here: navajo plying.

I knitted up a 4" x 8" swatch, using a modified basket weave. Mine was 3 sts edging, then *(k2, p3)* repeat between * * to last 3 sts, then 3 st edging; next row: maintaining 3 st edgings, *(p3,k2)* repeat to last 3 sts, do 3 st edging. Repeat rows 1 & 2, then do row 1 again. On the next row (row 6), do a purl row (this is the back side). Then repeat the first 5 rows, but switch the k2, p3 to p2, k3, thus offsetting the sts. On the 12th row do a purl row. Anywho, you probably get it by now!

The purl row creates a pull on the front, so that the knit blocks on the right side pop out, and almost have a convex curve. It's cool!

I plan on doing at least a scarf with this. I think it's 8 oz.

Superfine Merino Top: The last stash I got at the retreat was 7 oz of superfine dyed merino top in a green/blue colorway. This one has more greens and blues in it than the other two stashes, with some purple. I haven't spun up
any of this yet, but have attenuated a couple of strips. More later!

*for a history of "schwag" go here: schwag


Alpaca Granny said...

I'm very impressed with your Navaho plying. I think that's really hard not to overtwist.

Kyle Kunnecke said...

you've been busy! wow :)

I still just look at my spinning wheel and think ... if I could just make time...