Last weekend I got excited about my new sock yarn spinning project. But as I thought ahead, I realized that I needed to clear some bobbins before proceeding much further. I only have 4 bobbins for my Ladybug (someone asked me why I don’t just buy more – I may someday, but they are $36 each…). The first singles for the new sock yarn were on one bobbin. Another had the first half of the golden Polworth I spun on the spindle (I had to clear the spindle to spin the other half). Another had some leftover singles from the purple 2-ply merino silk. And the final bobbin was empty.
But… I need singles on 3 bobbins and a 4th empty bobbin on which to ply.
So I returned my attention to the gold stuff. I finished spinning it on the spindle at Knit Night on Wednesday. Then I quickly ran it through the wheel (not adding too much twist, I hope) to get it onto a bobbin so I can ply it on the wheel. I used this fancy shoe box contraption to hold the spindle: Then I realized…OOPS! I just used my last empty bobbin.
So I ended up hand winding the purple singles onto a short length of PVC pipe that I use as part of my homemade niddy noddy (boosted from my kids’ box of PVC fun – they build things out of it – think Tinker Toys). Then I slid the PVC pipe onto my kate, and reminded myself how to Navajo ply. Thank goodness for YouTube! This time I used this video, which is very clear and just what I needed. (Navajo ply is a chain ply technique that allows you to make a 3-ply yarn from singles on one bobbin – great way to use up those leftover bits of singles because you can use every last inch.)
I got another 33.5 yards of this pretty merino-silk and cleared my bobbin. I love how round the 3-ply yarn is compared to the 2-ply. See the difference? 3-ply is on the left; 2-ply is on the right. I might have to use this technique for an entire batch of singles sometime soon. (But not the new 3-ply sock yarn, because I understand that the chain ply doesn’t work so well with certain long and/or wiry fibers, and mohair is one of them.)
Once I cleared that bobbin, I plied the gold stuff into this 2-ply yarn. I go 259 yards out of 101 g: I had a tiny bit of singles left on one bobbin, which I promptly navajo-plied, and got so little it wasn’t even worth winding up.
Now I can proceed with the sock yarn.
I’m not unhappy with the gold stuff, but it’s somehow different from the yarn I spin entirely on the wheel. Maybe the twist on my spindle-spun singles was less consistent? I’m not sure. The Polworth top was sooooo buttery and the yarn is less so. It’s not rough and rustic, exactly, but nor is it buttery soft. Learning curve is still on the way up, I guess! (Spinners, speak up if you have wisdom on this, please.)