Tuesday, March 25, 2008

True Plies: Partying German-style

True Plies: Skacel Artfelt© Roving

On a whim last Thursday, while working the sales floor, I grabbed a Greensleeves spindle and a 50g hank of Skacel's Artfelt© pencil-roving in the color "Party Time" (#901). Why? Because I wanted to see what would happen and also because it would keep me from tears of boredom during slow moments.

I immediately realized what a misjudgment I'd made. First of all, I wasn't entertaining myself anymore - the entire store stopped to stare at me. The staff even were mesmerized by the pretty whirling wooden thing that was making yarn. Second, I got about a dozen requests to teach an Intro to Spindling course (for knitters), which has been approved by our Fearless Leader, so look for it on the Class Schedule when everything is arranged.

Anyway, back to the pretty-pretty wool. I had also made the mistake of not considering the mesmerizing qualities of variegated roving. I didn't want to stop spindling because I wanted to see what color would come next. Even worse, my coworkers and our patrons were egging me on - so I spent half the day wandering around the floor trying to help people and spin yarn at the same time.

Since The Blogger was madly in love with the yarn I was making, I promised to give it to her if she'd write a True Plies column on knitting with it. This then sparked a discussion on how it should be plied, whether it needed to be plied?, or what it should be plied with. In the end, we decided that I would ply the thick 'n thin singles with Habu's Silk Wrapped Stainless Steel thread in dark blue. It would strengthen the yarn and also give it some sparkle:

(Bling Bling, baby)

By the end of the night (our Sip 'n Stitchers also piled on the peer pressure to finish the yarn), it had all been plied. The next day, The Blogger and I wound it into a skein and set the twist (the process of 'finishing' the yarn by soaking it in water and hanging it to dry):

After it had dried, we pulled out our very handy yarn weight tool to determine the WPI (wraps per inch) and approximate gauge. Shown below is the finished skein and the tool (Brass Yarn Gauge):

Un-scrunched, the yarn averaged 12 WPI, making it a worsted weight. I also checked the yardage of the skein the old-fashioned way - counting the number of strands in the skein, measuring the skein's length...

... and doing some multiplication. All told, the skein had about 146 yards from 50g of wool. Not too bad.

In the end I almost regretted giving away the yarn, but stood fast. It was lots of fun to spin and I really enjoyed playing with the roving. I'd definitely recommend it for any level of spinner. It'd be perfect for beginners who struggle with drafting or for really experienced spinners who want to experiment with designer yarns. Next time, I want to try the color "Fall in Vermont" (#921). It'd look really spectacular plied with Habu Textiles' Wool/ Stainless Steel in Terra Cotta, don't you think?

(Unfortunately, we do not have Skacel Artfelt © roving available for purchase online. But if you would like to send us an email, we'll do our best to help you!)

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