Thursday, September 11, 2008

Almost done!

Well, okay - the plying won't start for a few days - maybe even a week or a bit more, but...! I've only got to finish up the chocolate llama single, and that's about halfway done and then... and then...! Woo-hoo! Skein-winder, here I come, done at last! And just in time for cool-weather knitting! Just to let you know, the chocolate single is not as dark as it's showing up in the photo, but I forgot to use my flash. Stupid - and so typical of me. I will try to do a better job of color management once the plying is done. I promise.

Okay. Maybe I'd best not crow just yet. My luck, something horrid will happen and I'll have to start all over :::shudder::: It doesn't bear thinking about! I haven't said much about this lovely chocolate llama, but I got the roving from Nancy Mercer of Naked Pines Ranch. It's a great little place, and her husband's even put up a wool-processing and dyeing shed! It couldn't happen to a sweeter person, though. Nancy's a lovely lady who is very talented and one of the busiest women on the planet, I swear. I can't imagine how she gets done HALF the things she does, yet she's cheerful, no matter what's going on. Me? I'd be a basket case. NO doubt (just ask my better half).

To take a small break from spinning the llama, though, I thought I'd try out some new stuff I got from Miss Babs; a glorious BFL (and you all know that one of my favorite wools is Blue Faced Leicester, right? (that's pronounced: Lester, btw). It makes a fabulous sock yarn; strong yet soft.

Well! I thought I knew everything there IS to know about BFL. Boy, was I wrong! This stuff is actually shiny! And the colorways Babs dyes her fibers in are just wonderful! Here's the direct link to the colorways. In some of the photos, the shine shows up a bit, but still doesn't do it complete justice. I have 6 of her rovings and only wish I could have ALL of them!

What I'm hoping to end up with is a 3-ply fractally-striped (wish me luck!) fingering-weight yarn. This effect creates a yarn in which the colors mesh into subtly blended stripes rather than plain, ordinary stripes. Usually, to get a bold, but ordinary, striped look, one has to Navajo ply the yarn to keep all the colorways more-or-less "together", but - fun as Navajo plying is - I don't want to do it that way. The only other way (and ridiculously difficult) is to take infinite, painstaking care to spin each single EXACTLY alike (groan!), which is a near impossibility. Yes, I know it can be done - I've done it! - but never again, if I can help it. LOL

Anyway, I'm trying it out on the New York colorway: very pale silvery grey, med-to-dark grey shades, dark green shades (sorry I don't have a pic, yet). I'll try to put one up sometime this week, if I get time. I know the colors sound strange, but they are breathtakingly beautiful in 'real life'. The colors are so subdued, quiet and peaceful (which is not really a "me" thing; subdued, quiet and peaceful, I mean), but they work together beautifully. I really hope this turns out well! I'd like to knit one of my men some socks from this! My poor son keeps growing bigger and bigger feet (and hubby does not appreciate handknit woolen socks - I know...he's baffling), so my young fella will probably get these. He'll love them, too. He nearly weeps every time he outgrows yet another pair of his beloved handknit socks.

Getting back on track.... To get one kind of fractal stripe effect, separate the roving/top lengthwise into 3 pieces of equal width. Set one 1/3rd strip aside to be spun as is, with no further separation. That will provide you a single with looong color stripes. For the second 1/3rd strip, split into 2 equally wide, lengthwise strips. There, you'll get somewhat shorter (but same-colored) stripes for bobbin #2. For the third single, separate that last strip into 3 equally wide, lengthwise strips. This last single gives even short stripes because... (No, I'm not deliberately insulting your intelligence here! Just being thorough.), because the amount of fiber in those skinnier strips is less than the roving strips for bobbins 1 & 2.

Spin up 3 singles (now quit whining - you know it's worth it) and ply them together, gloating over how lovely your fab yarn looks. And how NO ONE ELSE on the planet has yarn quite like yours!

Tip: I like to "finger crochet" all my strips (not together though!) and keep them bundled and marked for which single they go to. It would be just like me to mistake a strip #2 for belonging to the pile intended for bobbin #3. I would be SO ticked at myself if I did that. Well, that's all for now, and my eyes won't stay open any longer. G'nite, all!

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