Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Doing what I've never done before

We spinners tend to stick to 2-ply yarns.  Not always, not everyone, but I bet most spinners you talk to will say the same.  And there's a good reason for it.

When you spin and spin and spin your singles, it takes real heart, real courage, real grit to use more than 2 plies in a yarn.  The more singles you ply together, the less yardage you'll get out of all that spinning.  With a 2-ply, you get the maximum output from the effort. 

I've done a few 3-plies because I wanted the effect Navajo plying would give the yarn.  I've even done a little dab of cabled yarn using 4 singles (plying 2 2-plies).  But I've never given my effort to a true 4-ply yarn.  Up to now, I've not had the guts.  But with the package of Louet Northern Lights roving (colorway - ocean waves) I felt it was going to be worth the effort. 

First, I divided it into 4 2-ounce sections and then I started spinning, each to its own bobbin.  I knew I needed to spin it fairly fine because I'm not a huge fan of the bulky yarn. 

Once I got the 4 bobbins done, I even tried a little bit of it as a 6-ply by holding 2 strands together and Navajo plying.  Worked quite well, although I got a little too much twist into it.

As I was finishing with the 4th bobbin, I realized I was going to need to do something about a lazy kate - the thing that holds the bobbins for plying.  Mine on the wheel only holds 2 bobbins.  My clothes drying rack was folded up and propped against the wall and I realized it would work perfectly as a lazy kate.  Just stick the dowels through the racks and through the bobbins and, voila, a lazy kate.

Worked like a charm.

When I bought this fiber, I liked it because it had a demin look to it.  But as I spun the singles, it began to look really purple.  Now, I'm all for purple but it's not what I'd hoped for.  The fascinating thing, though, is that when I plied it, it got the denim look back.  It was fascinating to see how the colors in the 4 strands blended into almost a different color.  There's something about the structure of the 4-ply that fascinated me.  Instead of wrapping around each other, it was like the 4 strands wrapped around something else.

I ended up with almost 700 yards of DK weight yarn so that's not so bad (even though it would have been 1,400 yards of 2-ply).  I'm not sure what I'm going to make with it but the 2 things that crossed my mind as I was spinning away are:
  1. Socks - that will only take about 200 yards.
  2. Vest - I'm thinking I might like the knit the front vest pieces from this and the back either from fabric or I have some nice black merino that would make a nice fabric for the back.

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