Monday, June 1, 2009

Navajo Ply on the Fly!

Cathy taught Renee and I how to navajo ply on the fly! Here's how it all happened:

It all began when Cathy went to Madrona Fiber Arts (a.k.a "Madrona") last February, and apparently caught some sort of 48-hour fiber-enthusiast bug. She was filled with soo many ideas and concepts that she couldn't possibly sleep. How do I know this, I tell you it was all the late emails with crazy talk of ply-as-you-go spindle spinning! (Scroll down, waay down after you click the link on the left to see Cathy's post about this technique.)

A short time thereafter, Cathy and I were able to meet-up at the American Swedish Institutes' knit-out to celebrate the final week of the Bohus Stickning exhibit in Minneapolis.

After reading about her late-night insanity, I forced her to show me how to do this! Cathy pulled out her spindle with a smile, which looked like this:

See that wee loop on top? That's where the crochet chain was set to begin. Although we're really in a chicken-before-the-egg situation here. First, she had to prep fiber to spin a single:Isn't that shawl gorgeous? Go here to learn more about it.

Once a section of single was spun turning the spindle to the right, Cathy stopped and picked up the loop from above. Here she pulled the single through the loop creating thirds. This also creates a crochet chain:Here Cathy plys the chain together by spinning the spindle in the opposite direction as the single: Once complete, she attaches the loop and spins another single section. How cool was that?

Now, I think that spindle spinning is pretty amazing - perhaps I should give it a try again. Honestly though, I just love the speed and ease of a wheel. Do you know how long it would take for me to spin a four ounce bundle of fiber? Yeah, neither do I-- but I'm going to guess that it'll be just about forever!
Cathy is to Twisted Fiber Art as I am to Wollmeise. About a year ago I picked up a 4 oz. bundle of "Sleek", a superwash merino/tencel blend by Twisted Fiber Art roving. The colorway is Scorched. Sometime in March it just looked like spring to me - and a great color for Cathy.
So, I split the roving in two equal parts. The first half was spun with long color repeats, and the second half was split lengthwise into ten skinny pieces. These short repeats were spun, then plyed together with the long repeats to create a barber pole that will stripe when knit up:

Cathy just received the skein on Saturday, and I can't wait to see what she knits with it!


Guinifer said...

Wow. That yarn is absolutely gorgeous - everything you said was greek - but wow!

twinsetellen said...

Gorgeous yarn! And I remember Kathy's shawl from the Knit Out. It is fun to see the snow through the window.

Cathy-Cate said...

I agree with Guinifer --
the yarn is absolutely gorgeous! I am behind on the blogosphere, and didn't get over to your blog until just now, and look what I find waiting for me! Me all over! And this AMAZING yarn!

I truly think it must become socks. It was spun by the queen of socks, after all....and the blend feels so nice for socks. I can split it in half and do toe-ups, and show off the lovely, lovely yarn.

You know what? This solves a guilty problem I have! The Scorched socks I am currently knitting turned out a touch small as far as the first (first time of doing a peasant heel, which you do at the end; I did it from memory as far as the instructions I'd read, and could have made the foot longer, or the heel a bit deeper, as it turned out.

Anyway, I was torn. I LOVE the socks and had planned them for myself. Block them bigger? Every time I wash them? Or give them to my good friend or my mother, both of whom have slightly smaller feet than I do?

Well, if I have gorgeous HANDSPUN Scorched socks spun for me by a friend -- and in merino/tencel, which is kind of all-weather -- then I can happily pass on the Scorched socks when I finish them and make a pair of Scorched socks for me, me, me! As a joint project between me and you!

Thanks for the wonderful, amazing gift, and those are great pictures!

Cathy-Cate said...

Oh, and I forgot to tell you that just tonight I was spinning and Navajo plying-on-the-fly that very same fiber. After not doing so for a while (the kitten actually permitted it for some time). And then I come here and find myself on the 'net doing it! Synchronicity!

Kristen said...

That is totally STUNNING, Deb.