Thursday, October 4, 2007

Adventures In Plying

Disclaimer: any unflattering commentary about some of the colors in the yarn you are about to view are solely the opinion of a picky knitter and novice spinner and should not reflect poorly on the dye job originally done on the roving.

As I was working with the Blue-Faced Leicester yesterday, it occurred to me that I had managed to make a yarn that I never would have purchased had I seen it in the store. Part of it was denial, I was attracted to the orange and green in the roving and somehow managed to block out the large sections of purple/grey. Part of that was inexperience, at the start I had very little idea how my preparation of the roving would influence the colors. In retrospect I probably should have torn the roving lengthwise into very thin strips to preserve the integrity of the colors. Part of the reason I didn't do that was that it would have made for very short color repeats. At any rate, I have a better idea of what to look for in a roving next time.

Now it's time to decide what to do with what I've got spun. I probably have enough for a hat, or some wrist warmers, and since the yarn is so soft I'm leaning toward something next to skin. But first, to ply or not to ply?

Single ply yarn

Single ply swatch (size 6 needles).

After all the warnings about knitting with energized singles (a single ply of yarn that wants to twist back on itself) and how that will produce a biased fabric, I was happy to find that I was able to make a low twist single that I could knit with (I think...) The fabric is light enough that it should work for some wrist-warmers that start under my sleeves and come down around my hands. Of course, the striping effect seen in the swatch would not be so strong if I was working with more stitches.

Two ply yarn, Andean plied.

Two ply swatch (size 7 needles)

Although it may not be as clear in the picture as it is in real life, the striping is somewhat less strong here. The barber-pole effect in some of the yarn translates to a more mottled look. I would favor this, except that it occasionally produces icky color combinations. Down at the bottom of the swatch you can see the result when murky orange, purplish and corpse bride blue/green get together. Not me.

Three ply yarn, Navajo plied.

Three ply swatch (size 8 needles)

Here I am rewarded for those long color runs. The colors are muted, but fairly distinct. As a bonus, the lumps that Navajo plying produces (ahem -when done with a thick and thin single) disappear once the yarn is knit. And three ply... so soft and fluffy! This would be great for a hat.
So, what do YOU think? Hat? Wrist-warmers? Or should I just pack it up and mail it to the first person who declares that they find it beautiful?


Risa said...

I love the way the three ply looks. I know it will leave you with less yardage at the end, but the colors really work in the last swatch. I'm not a spinner, so I don't know the lingo. But it's the prettiest in my opinion.
You should make a hat if you have enough, or just send it to me and I'll take care of it :)

loribird said...

Ooo, pack it up and mail it to me!!! I think the colors are bee-ewe-ti-full!!!
er, I mean, you should totally make something out of it (hat?) and stash it away as a gift for someone. That's what I do with yarn I'm not so fond of once I've spun it... (and yes, it does happen every now and then.)

Octopus Knits said...

I love all of it - single, double, and triple ply! So much fun to look at : )