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Experiments and lessons learned... all at once.

I have been spinning up a storm since I was last here. Oh.my.goodness. I'm having so much fun that it is very nearly impossible to let my sore left hand rest an hour or two, let alone a whole day. :)

My most recent dyeing experiment was fun, but not completely successful. I wondered what it would be like to dye a ball of singles that had just come off my Turkish- without taking the ball apart. See what this is?

It's a ball of spun KP bare Wota- directly off the spindle. I thought maybe the bath and subsequent hot tub soak would stir it up too much that it wouldn't come apart good, so I stuck the handles of some plastic spoons through the spots where the arms went. Then it was injected partly, and soaked partly with a hot mixture of food coloring and vinegar. Then it spent some time just chillin'. Well, not chillin', but you get my drift. :)

Then after rinsing and sitting to dry for a few hours, I realize that isn't going to work. The inside will never dry. So I start to pull out from the center and there is a LOT of white still in there. I guess I didn't inject quite deep enough. Plus, I dont' think I would have needed the spoons. Without them more dye would have gotten where it needed to go- and I could have used that space for injecting. :) Next time I'll try it like that. Anyway- once I got the single sufficiently wound into a hank- closer to the outside where the colors were brighter- I could see that the color changes were just as I wanted- about 4 inches or so apart. I ended up plying it with some light green that came with a spindle I purchased- the Jasper stone top whorl. The ending skein is quite pretty, if I do say so myself. I named the colorway 'Sweet Clover' after one of my favorite weeds in South Dakota.

That was all a few days ago... Yesterday was a whole new experience again!! Well, let me back up... I have a lesson to share with you. :) Christina|AlohaBlu dyed some fantastically beautiful purple and teal roving a week or two ago- so I tried to replicate that. I used koolaid and food coloring. Lots of it. It's HARD to get purple and have it be dark enough. I added as much black as I dared. :) Anyway- I had this mess of wet roving in my hands and the dyepot- trying not to mix the two colors too much when I realized I forgot to get any plastic bags out to put the stuff in for it's stay in the sauna (courtesy of Nutty's 'steam set' process- I like it!!). I was within reach of the bread box, though, so I grabbed one of those and put around the green/teal end of the roving. It had already been shot with the dye pretty well- I was getting a 'green thumb' and it had nothing to do with plants. :) I grabbed a bread bag- knowing it had crumbs in it, but turned it inside out and set the roving inside the bag. Crumbs fall where they may... Then when the purple end was thoroughly saturated, I grabbed another nicely folded and neat bread bag from the box- and knew it had been sufficently emptied of crumbs- so into the bag the purple end went. Now for the sauna. The color turned out pretty good actually! I liked it better when it was wet, but see for yourself.

The biggest problem was with the green end of the roving- the steam melted the ink on the outside of the bread bag that was turned inside out and it's on the roving too!! See what I mean??

It's in quite a few places, but never very much in one place, so I decided to spin it as-is. It's not thick or sticky or felted there or anything, just, well, orange. :)

So now on to the spinning!! I watched a you-tube video probably over a year ago that totally floored me... it was the Navajo ply-on-the-fly technique. I had never held a drop spindle in my hands at the time, but I could still see the beauty in it. Day before yesterday, I ran smack into the video again on Ravelry. The maker of the video had posted a thread in the 'Spindlers' forum about it and then linked to her newer video version, too. I watched the old one again, and appreciated her further advances in the newer version, so decided I needed to give it a go. I got out Jasper about 2 pm yesterday and let him fly! and fly and fly and fly. I had to take a break to welcome the kids from school, get them a snack, supervise homework, fix supper, greet the hubs, feed the family, get everyone ready for bed, read a chapter from our bedtime book, kisses and hugs all around, and then (!!) let Jasper fly some more. :) I quit about 10:30, I think, with approx 60 yards of Navajo ply weighing in at 30 g. Wota worsted is 50 g/110 yards, so mine is just a shade thicker than Wota! I'm SO pleased with how this turned out. The technique is absolutely amazing and fantastic! I can't believe it.

Here's the pics. :)) On the spindle:

and the hank:

And a close-up:

HERE is the link to the Ravelry thread where there is quite a bit of chatter about the technique. I posted there, too, of course. :) About halfway down on page 4 is the newer version You-tube video directly posted. There is a link on the very first page to the original video. Hope I've inspired you to try it! I don't know how much spinning of singles I will do after this. :) I may reconsider my dyeing processes though, if I'm doing multi-colored rovings. There can be extremely abrupt color changes doing Navajo plying. :) It will make for some very interesting striping patterns. Not sure what I'll make with this yarn, yet, but hopefully I'll come out with around 180 yards of it!

ETA: Oh, and HERE is the link to Rosemary's blog where there is more explanation about the ply-on-the-fly technique.

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Comment by PickleSue on October 16, 2010 at 5:48pm
Thank you, thank you!!
Comment by cellogirl on October 16, 2010 at 4:58pm
It looks great!! beautiful colors!!
Comment by Peggy Stuart on October 16, 2010 at 5:58am
That's very likely!
Comment by PickleSue on October 15, 2010 at 9:33pm
It feels 'extreme' at first even without doing it in an outrageous place. :) It seemed that way for me, anyway. :)
Comment by Peggy Stuart on October 15, 2010 at 5:43pm
That would be great! Then I could add plying to my "extreme spinning!"
Comment by Nutty4Knitting on October 15, 2010 at 4:57pm
I think I have figured out two possibilities as an alternative to the way shown in the video. I need to veg (but no VM), so I think I'm going to send DH for a pizza (for him and me) and then lock myself in my room to try out my ideas. If they work, I can have #4D take some pics and show you.
Comment by Peggy Stuart on October 15, 2010 at 4:52pm
Nutty, in the video, she had the spindle down on the ground stationary. Have you figured out a way to accomplish the same thing with the spindle dangling? I would like to avoid more VM to deal with.
Comment by Nutty4Knitting on October 15, 2010 at 4:44pm
Small skeins, Peggy, so the socks would only fit little feet. But I have lots of those around here! LOL And walking on a paved road probably facilitates faster spinning, and possibly more feasibility for my idea of how to Ply on the Fly while in motion. Oh, and if it's the bigger feet needing the socks, that means I'll need lots of little skeins, so lots of walks=more weight loss=more fiber x10 as a reward! Got it all figured out. Ask me next week how many pair are spun for! =) But don't be surprised if it's none. Time is still the missing factor around here.
Comment by PickleSue on October 15, 2010 at 4:36pm
Thanks, Bev! Yes, you have the visual right. It was a MESS! Lol.
Nutty- glad you liked that video. :) It is quite the amazing thing to use. I agree with the happier Mom thing. :)
I have things to share, but no time. :) I made a supported spindle this morning out of a ceramic insulator and a dowel! Will take pics hopefully soon. My sister is here for part of the weekend!
Comment by Peggy Stuart on October 15, 2010 at 4:25pm
Especially if you can't figure out how to ply and walk at the same time. Looks tricky, to me. (Waiting for the next video, showing Ply on the Fly while walking!)

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