True, I am exposed to more yarn fumes than most people (thank you, Universe), but lately I've been thinking that I need to spend more time spinning. Or it could be the change of seasons inching toward this hemisphere - I made the same proclamation this time last year. Getting to spend the whole day in class with Kathryn Alexander probably had more to do with it than anything.
I realized when I sat down to spin that I have been working exclusively on Caora Dubh for so long that I have nearly forgotten how to do anything except spin from the lock. Roving totally flummoxed me. I did eventually remember what to do, but not before I thought to myself: "Gee, you really need more practice". So, in the interest of becoming a better spinner (and by extension, a better knitter), I did a little fiber diving in the stash basket (can you believe that my fiber stash is still only one basket? Okay, it might be overflowing a little). I came up with a gorgeous bit of fluff I was given in class at Black Sheep Gathering last year. It's double-coated shetland which was hand-painted and then combed into top by Judith McKenzie McCuin. I liked the two plies I came up with so much that I took it into my head to try for my first "Art" yarn. I think it turned out more like "Frank" yarn. As my mother says, Not everything you do can be a great success. Meet Frank:
I plied it with crochet cotton, and a strand of mylar embroidery thread. And what have we learned, Dorothy?
1. Crochet cotton is kinda cool to ply with because it is plied in the same direction (Z) that my singles were spun. Plying them all the other direction (S), worked out just fine.
2. Crochet cotton comes in a limited color range, particularly if you only have time and inclination to hit one national chain fabric store to get it. But if you get lucky, the sort of flat color can have an interesting and unifying effect on hand-painted roving.
3. Mylar thread, however tantalizing and sparkly it may seem, is a pain in the ass.
3a. One strand will all but completely disappear between two plies of wool and one of crochet cotton.
3b. Plying another strand of mylar thread on top of the other four strands will have four outcomes:
3b.1 The previous four strands will be over-plied. DUH.
3b.2 The second strand of mylar thread will in no way attach itself cohesively to the now over-plied previous four strands, resulting ghastly loops of loose mylar thread.
3b.3 Too much mylar in your yarn will cross the line between Delicately Glittery and Vegas Showgirl, without ever looking back. And it feels like sandpaper cat litter.
3b.4 The Knitter-Wanna-Be Spinner will resolve to stop spinning and start looking for beer.
Once I had removed myself from the situation (good thing we keep the beer in a whole different room), I was able to calmly determine my course of action (and here is where the yarn fumes are obviously at work):
Plan A: UN-Ply the second strand of mylar thread from 300 yards of finished yarn.
Plan B: Throw away the whole wretched mess and resolve that "Art" yarn is for pretentious show-off spinners anyway.
I know what you are going to say: Better to waste yarn than time and sanity. Better to drink beer than, well, a whole bunch of things. Better to learn your lessons and move on. And you will be right.
So where the hell were you, Gentle Readers, when I resolved that Plan A would be the way to go? You people know by now that I require constant supervision. Or Intervention.
Plan A was an absolute nightmare, whose net results were a headache, 300 yards of mediocre "Frank" yarn, and a resolution never to Un-Ply. Anything. Again. Ever.
Spinning Gods = 1, Wanna-Be Spinner = -1.