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 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?