Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Navajo ply!

Last night I needed to clear a few singles off a bobbin. A few weeks ago, I'd spun up a little bit of this juicy merino fiber from Lorna's Laces that I got for the holidays. I thought I'd give reputedly slippery merino a test-run. As I recall, it wasn't too bad. It was, however, a while ago.

Summer berry singles

Then I was left with very little on the bobbin, but I didn't want to spin the rest of it then. So I set it aside, and last night, I navajo plied it. See?

First attempt to Navajo Ply

This new type of plying was a bit tricky. Since I'm a lefty, I tried doing it with my left hand, but I kept needing to use my right to help pull the single through the loop. Eventually I was getting my left index finger to take care of the pulling through the loop, while the right did something with the twist. I saw what hadn't been clear on the on-line video, that somehow the creation of the loops gives you a three-ply. Pretty cool! I'm not an engineer, I can't explain how it works, just that it did!

What I got was something like this:

Navajo plied yarn

I have a few questions about navajo plying for you more experienced spinners: Do you see that purple strand on top, on the right side? Right there you can see where the two loops interlock. Why is that? Is that normal for navajo plying, to see where the loops are?

I had another question, which is how the heck do you finish it? When I was done I had an awkward floppy loop that didn't quite twist and ply up nicely.

Also, why is it called "navajo" plying?

Here is the little skein-let, only a few yards long, all twisted up.

Navajo ply mini-skein

I think it looks pretty good for a first attempt. Of course, that's probably half the dye job on the fiber - hard to go wrong with such gorgeous colors!! They remind me of summer berries. I don't remember what the official colorway name is, but these sure do speak to me of berries.

Last week I went to a conference at my home institution, a conference I've been planning for the last year or so. It went really well - great papers, interesting people, good networking. The conference involved people working on topics very similar to my dissertation, so it provided a lot of excellent food for thought and really has me actually thinking about the diss with excitement for the first time in about a month. I came home and scanned 16 pages of notes so I'd have electronic copies of what I wrote down. I've never actually scanned in notes before, but it seemed to make a certain amount of sense. Add them to the e-file for the conference, and I'll always be able to find them. The paper notes - who knows?

Of course, I can't really capitalize on that excitement because now that I'm home, I'm preparing the house for Passover & the arrival of guests this weekend! (Granted, since the Judaism represented here is Reform, the housecleaning isn't as, um, thorough, as it could be, but there's still plenty to do!) I'm going to try to put in some time on the diss this afternoon and tomorrow, but I still have to clean the house and go grocery shopping, so it's looking like the diss will have to wait till next week!

1 comment:

Jessica said...

Love the color of that fiber! I'm no navajo plying expert, but I can try and answer a few of your questions. This kind of plying is sort of like making a crochet chain. Each time you make a new loop you can end up with a little lump. I recently learned that if you twist that lump with your fingers a little bit you can minimize how it looks as compared to the rest of the yarn. To finish it I just run the tail through the last loop and let it hang. Not sure if that's "correct" but it's good enough for me since I usually only use navajo plying to do exactly what you did, get the last of something off the bobbin and then use it for skein ties. No idea on that last question.

Have a Happy Passover!