Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Clean the Freaking House Before Trying Plying!!

Well, a couple of weeks ago I plied (or is it plyed) two very small balls at Jenny's, which she put into two coffee mugs and ran the yarns through the handles. That went just fine. But now I've just finished spinning the Blue and Red Louet Northern Lights (2nd spin) which is a freaking 8 ounces. Well, it's seven if I deduct the two small balls we did a trial on, which weren't even an ounce.

Now I'm plying the rest, and this is a freaking nightmare! So far I've had singles break twice midstream plying, and three hopeless tangles in a single (looked like a beehive, I mean THAT kind of tangle). Overspun thin parts. Bah, humbug. So we have knots. I swore I wouldn't have knots, and ever so carefully left unspun fiber on the ends of each spindleful as I wound each off and did great splices. But KNOTS! Oh, I have no idea how many, I'm not counting.

First of all, whatever a Lazy Kate is, if it has anything to do with plying, I'm buying one. No. I know what I should have done. I think those suckers are expensive, and if I get a wheel I'm not sure I'd need one. I think they're built in somehow, not sure. Maybe bobbins do it or something.

Well, I stored the yarn on paper towel cores, and I should have wound these two (two) lots into balls. And then put each ball under a planter, and run the yarn out through the holes. Oh, no. I decided to go right off the paper towel cores. Well, everyone seems to say "Why not? You can just put them on a broom handle." Well, I'll tell you why not. Because it's a freaking mess.

This morning I swore I'd clean off the table, go through papers and... just this whole mishmash of shit I've just stuck on the table. I have bills to pay, notes to keep somewhere safe, phone numbers, marketing lists. Reminders of URGENT things. But oh no, I thought, "Well, I'll just ply up this finished yarn so I can wash, whirr and whack it. It'll dry today and by tonight I'll see what I've got. And of course, it'll give me a chance to try out my brand new, gorgeous, mahogany/birchwood Kromski niddy noddy. And act like I've done this before, and impress myself in the mirror.

So I didn't. I not only didn't clean off the table, I didn't even do the dishes. I mean, this is where it just has to be done, and I crave yesterday's perfectly neat, clean counter tops.

Okay, Setup #1 was on top of two chairs, one on each side of the table. I ran the broom handle over them, and figured that was clever, this would be easy. NOT! No tension. Rumply plies.

I'm not saying it's pretty. I thought it would work great.


(Okay, don't even say anything about there being a huge wad of yarn on one paper towel core and a not-so-big one on the other. I know. I know.

So here's setup #2. The right paper towel holder really wasn't left trapped, just in the photo.

I now moved the chairs over to the sink, with the broom stick on top of them and VOILA! Two cabinets over the sink, on each side of it, have doors that open up FROM the sink. That means knobs. Tension! So I opened those doors and ran the yarns straight up and over the knobs. (Me standing at the other end of the room, walking to and fro). Oh, screw the mess, this was driving me nutty. But don't think it didn't occur to me that I shoulda done the kitchen before I started this "just a short time" project. Obviously with all this set up like it is, I not only can't clean the kitchen until I move everything back (unhooking yarn from everywhere) but... well, it was just a dumb mess to work around with something like yarn. Add now the dog bowl and toys which my beastie incessantly wants to move around into unsuspecting places. I think she thinks that if I trip on one, I'll be on the floor again, and she can come lick my face without having to stretch or reach. In any event, trust me, it's worth it to start something like this when you have places to set things, without moving other things. Especially wet things.

So I wasn't happy leaving well enough alone. I re-arranged everything, only this time I not only used the two cabinet door knobs, but tried to tension the yarns around parts of the chair. This was like walking into a huge 4wpi spider web.
Meanwhile, GUILT! At this point, the horse needs water, I'm dreading shlepping 8 gallons minimum out to the barn, true. But can't fill them anyway until I move the plying setup and put away the clean dishes to free up that sink. Which is the only sink that won't make the gallon jugs tip over because of some stupid garbage disposal that I can't even use anyway because of Septic Tank -- just a bad combination, garbage disposals and septic tanks.

So here's setup #3.
Now I've added what I said above. And broke another freaking single! Now I know why camera people were touting that wide angle lens when I bought mine that doesn't have it. I wish you could see how this yarn wraps around the room, lol! I tried getting farther back, but then you can't see it at all. I think just from this mini-glance at it and a little imagination though, you'll get the idea.

Okay, so I've never packed a spindle this fat. In fact I don't think I've even ever seen one packed this fat. And that includes the spindle guru-ess, Amy who lives in the Midwest, but knows how to really pack a spindle. But I was determined not to have another knot by stopping before I used ALL of the yarn on that left paper towel holder.
So I put it on the niddy noddy. First time for that. All was right except... except... one crossover. Well, who knows WHAT that would do when it comes to skein time. I had to unwrap tons of wraps, and re-do it. But fortunately nothing tangled. My niddy noddy has a shitload of yarn wrapped on it. I'm a little afraid to pack it any fuller, so tonight's decision is whether to tie it "as is" or push my luck and see if I can cram the rest of the big ball onto it.
That's another thing. Do I dare take that wad of yarn off the right hand paper towel holder and hope like hell I can treat it like a center pull ball? I don't think so. I think that really WOULD be pushing my luck. Maybe try treating it like a center pull ball while it's still ON the paper towel holder.
This will be interesting. As for how much twist in the ply? Hah! Don't even ask. I'm just hoping it's knitable and that it'll have the appearance of an "intentionally" rustic yarn.
It ain't over, this is the next morning at 6am.
Last night I tried another trick I've read about. Slip the inside thread out, and wind that AND the outside thread together into a ball, then just ply off the ball. Priscilla Gibson-Roberts writes in Spinning In The Old Way that she plies right off her nostepinne that way. Well, I tried it and DOH!!! The yarns totally cross over one another each time the outside yarn wraps around the ball! So how the hell do they do it?? That crossover happens between the nostepinne (or substitute) and your fingers that are holding the two singles. Arg. Anyway, I'm afraid to try that trick again, I ended up having to cut both lengths off because it became a hopeless mess.
So back to the drawing board. I think I'm just going to make it easy this time (easy?) and make a 2nd way smaller skein on the niddy noddy. Count the wraps, then wind off half, cut, wind the 2nd into a 2nd ball, and ply from two teensy balls. I mean I have so many knot-ties at this point, what difference would two more make? Nada.