Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I Am Ply-Curious

It tells you something about the circles I run in that when I mentioned I was about to try making a three-ply yarn for the first time, somebody said, "You haven't done that yet? At your age?"

What can I tell you? I was an odd kid. While all my little cohort engaged in classic teenage behavior–watching Sixteen Candles, kissing under the bleachers, perfecting their plying technique–I was probably stuck in my locker shouting for help. Please don't even ask what it was like being the only boy in class who couldn't finish a bouclĂ©e without snarling.

Here, on the lazy kate before plying, are the three bobbins of the green merino (look! up in the sky!).

green-bobbins

The roving was already divided into three even balls (I weighed them before spinning to be sure). Yet I wound up with two bobbins of roughly equal size and a third that's much fatter. What can we tell from this? We can tell from this that Franklin needs to focus a smidge more on consistency.

In my defense, long draw is so much fun I forget to pay attention to the fine points. As my arm swings back and the yarn flows from my fingertips, I am prone to shout "ta-daaaaaa," "wheeeeee," "cowabunga," and other ejaculations to that effect.

The plying went well, and here is the yarn on the niddy-noddy waiting to be wet-finished.

green-niddy

I am pleased. Giggly, even. Far from perfect, but it's my first yarn that really looks (to me) like yarn instead of "yarn."

Also...

I've been working on a collaborative project with John Mullarkey (my friend, the noted card weaver and loaner-to-me of spinning wheels) using Skacel's CoBaSi (a blend of cotton, silk, and bamboo).  It's a messenger bag. John has finished the strap, which is card-woven.

finished-band

I'm working on the bag, which will be knit.

I've decided to do it in mosaic knitting, for the same reason I decide do so many things: it looks cool and I hadn't tried it yet. Here's an early swatch of what has become (with refinements) the finished pattern for the sides and flap of the bag.

mullarkey-collab-swatch

Designing and working mosaic patterns is proving to be a smidge addictive. Usually when I feel this way about a new-to-me technique, I wind up teaching it in a class about a year later. Who wants to place bets?

37 comments:

Cat Wilson said...

Not only a bet, but a reservation!

Kat said...

I know what I'll be signing up for at Squam - a double class with you and John - have day card weaving the handle and a half day bag knitting. Am i right?

Patti Anne said...

Betcha - Craftsy online Mosaic Knitting class by June 2014. BTW your 3-ply is to die for - so jealous!

GUNTer said...

the bag is going to be so awesome.
I love that you yell out joyously. PLY ON!

SandyK said...

Oh dear Franklin, that's a sucker bet!

Sharon V said...

When I first learned to spin, all of my yarns were fat, happy and full of 'character' which I tried to bury (read 'hide') in my finished object. If you get a better result on your first try, I'll be happy for you - and a little jealous. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

How about that filet crochet piece under your lazy kate ? May we see it ? Did you make it ? Your projects are always beautiful.
Marie Stanley
Mym on Ravelry

Bill J said...

Dear Franklin,
You can't be adorable AND consistent!

Renee Anne said...

I'd like to reserve my spot. I'm willing to travel if required.

I tried to chain ply some corriedale I had spun (don't even get me started on that)...it looks like crap. I'll probably use it to make something eventually (like a hat or small bag) but it looks like crap and should probably just be burned. ::sigh::

tollbaby said...

SO want to get my spinning wheel back from the repair fella now. I feel as though I've fallen way behind everyone else.

And I hear you on the "stuck in the locker" comment. The only reason I was never shoved into one is that, by age 10, I was taller than EVERYBODY, even the teachers. It sucked.

CeltChick said...

Yeah buddy, that's actual yarn there! And it's pretty, too.

Liz said...

You're getting me all excited for the arrival of my first wheel. So far, I've knitted and designed only for drop spindle-spun yarn. There's no "whee!" about the pace of that.

localandbespoke.com said...

Three ply is my favourite. Yours looks excellent!

Cathy said...

Yay for 3-plying! It happens to me quite often when I divide and don't conquer, i.e. not getting equal length... but you can always Andean ply, even on when 3-plying. I was studying John Mullarkey's website for card weaving the other day, and I especially like his "running dogs" pattern, so cool! Look forward to the messenger bag :)

lollyknits.com said...

I never bet on a sure thing. Also, I love how tweedy and wonderful your latest yarn looks :)

Anonymous said...

I agree, Mosaic knitting is addictive. Several years ago I tried it on an afghan for one of my goddaughters and ended up making lots of mosaic things before I decided I needed to do something else for a while. Every so often I come back to it.

Soosan said...

I like it!

Yvonne said...

Awesome job, Franklin! If you had seen my first three-ply, you'd realize how well you did! I hope you'll knit something with it. There's nothing like knitting with handspun. :-) And to those people who commented that they have made irregular, lumpy plied yarn - try doing a knitted, felted piece. Felting makes all things better.

Seanna Lea said...

I loved the class I took at Squam with John. I'm hoping with my move next month that I'll finally be able to buy a loom to go with my cards and start making some of the ideas in my head reality.

Cheryl Oberle said...

Well I haven't made a three ply yet either ..so not I suppose I'll have to give it a go. Thanks for the inspiration

Cheryl Oberle said...

Oops.."not" means "now" in my Freudian slip lingo. ^-^

Shannon said...

Franklin, have you heard of Welcome to Night Vale? You're what I imagine Cecil (the main character) looks like

Kathryn said...

No bets, mosaic knitting is addictive and the way the patterns come together to minimize floats is so geometric and lovely. It hits a lot of the same buttons as lace for me, with the bonus of being able to be finished far more quickly.

Christina said...

Congratulations on your first 3 ply yarn! As usual, your blog made me smile... but perhaps the next time you are spinning long draw you can make "interjections" instead... :-)

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