I've been playing with string. Today I'm turning the yarn I have into the yarn I want. The Oregon knitting teachers and I are beginning our very first knitalong (Join us, Do!) We decided to make adult Tomten jackets, based on Elizabeth Zimmermann's sensational classic.
What I have in mind is to make my Tomten as a swing coat, with trapezoidal sides. Naturally, this will require a boatload of aran-weight yarn. Fortunately for me, I was lucky enough to have been gifted with 4 huge cones of scottish shetland 2-ply:
Absolute pounds of yarn, with the only trouble being that it's much too lightweight for what I propose. My new pal Shelia January wisely counseled me that 2 or 3 strands of this held together would pass nicely for the weight I need. But of course, simply holding the strands together would be far too simple for someone like me (OCD Much?). For one thing, these cones are anything but portable, and I winding them into smaller bites is almost the same amount of work as actually plying them into cablespun yarn. Add to that the fact that I think all this yardage needs washing (lotsa spinning oil from the mill in it), and you can see the direction things took:
Shelia pointed out that to cable the strands, I would first need to add a bit of twist, in order to get a balanced yarn. So through the wheel it goes. I'm treating the 2-ply finished yarn as if it were singles, adding more twist in the same direction it was plied at the mill, and then re-plying it the opposite direction. Then a luxurious soak in the sink, and an eternity to dry. Who knew? Turns out 6 plies of shetland can really hold onto moisture!
Presto! Fluffy, balanced cablespun shetland! And I even like the color. At least for now - we'll see how I feel about it after preparing the 10 or 12 skeins I estimate needing. Still, it's totally worth the trouble for a free Tomten.
Join up with us on Ravelry! There are some DEEPLY talented knitters in this group, who happen to be teachers and designers, as well. I can't wait to find out what we do! Also, the pattern/formula is available in several different versions, and suggestions for modifications abound, so the sky's the limit. See you on the Dark Side. I'll save you a seat.