Friday, December 15, 2006

Ply Like a Navajo

On November 6th, I hit a fiber lull. I had * literally * spun all of the fiber I had. I quickly sent Lisa Souza an e-mail, and sent off an order to Crown Mountain. I had a week off from work (theoretically, of course- since I ended up working 4 of the 5 days), and had grand ambitions of spinning up a mountain of yarn and watching enough TV to thoroughly rot my brain.

Then, I called Mom, who had generously volunteered to bring over all of the spinning fiber she had squirreled away. She also, in the spirit of her magnanimous generosity, suggested how she would like each spun and plied.

She pointed at 4 oz of Superwash merino and said, "I'd like this Navajo plied, please."

"I don't know how to Navajo ply yet. Do you?" I ask Mom.

"Not yet," she replies.

As any computer-savvy-spinning-crazed 23/24 year old would do, I googled "Navajo ply", then read the description of how to do it. Then, I found a video with a quick blip on how to do it.

I went home, and used the odds and ends from a spinning project to practice. I have learned that Navajo plying requires coordination, tightly spun yarn, and the most important- to treadle slowly.

My first attempt was grim, and rife with swearing. Needless to say, Andrew was thoroughly entertained.

My second attempt was with the last 20 yards of Linda's gift exchange yarn, which I now realize that I didn't photograph. I didn't want to waste 20 yards of knittable yarn (so, 60 yards of spinning)- because we all know how 30 yards can make or break a project- so I performed my second attempt at Navajo plying. This was exponentially more successful.

Attempt number three is making me feel like I'm getting the hang of it. I'm Navajo plying all 8 ounces of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" on Sandi's Schacht.

Some interesting observations- I can fit about 3 oz of spinning per Ashford bobbin, and on the Schacht bobbins, I can fill it closer to 6 oz (I'm at about 5 ¼ right now, but there is still room on the bobbin).

I think Navajo plying works better in some cases than others, to prevent "yarn barf"-age. ("Yarn barf" is exactly what it sounds like- too many colors jumbled together.)

Pictures will be posted soon; comparing the Navajo plied stuff to the regularly plied stuff.

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