Two years ago, I started Tour de Fleece, armed with nothing more than a few braids of fibre and my Houndesign spindle. I got about 9 days in, and a few things came up, and that, as they say, was that.
Two years later, with my trusty Lenrdum wheel, I decided to give it another go, and while I was at it, I thought I’d head up the indigodragonfly TdF team. I had a single braid of PandaBaa (merino/bamboo) and if I managed to finish that one, I figured, I had another couple I could work on. Truthfully, I was not really expecting that to happen, but a girl can hope.
I had not at all figured on the addiction-inducing properties of this fibre. So soft, so lustrous and it, as I have said before, drafts like butter. I had half the braid done in the first weekend, and then spun the other half over the next four days. Plying always takes longer than I think it will (this is in no way aided by the fact that I have had to ply my last two skeins twice) so I saved it for a peaceful Sunday morning activity.
There’s a saying…”Man Plans. God Laughs.” I am guessing he had a mighty chuckle at me yesterday morning.
After the recent success of plying from both ends of a centre-pull ball, that seemed like the most reasonable way to go. I wound the single off the bobbin and settled in, not knowing the horror that awaited me.
This time, something went horribly awry, and even now I can’t say what exactly. The strands doubled back on themselves and each other. They got twisted and tangled, and the strands were almost sticky….keeping them apart proved to be impossible and in one case, no matter how hard I tried, scissors were required. The air was positively blue from the language that erupted as I’d untangle one bit, only to hit two more.
The only thing we could see that would work would be to have the ball spin so that the strand on the outside never had a chance to wind itself around the middle one. My darling husband was good enough to hold the ball, slowly turning it to keep the strands apart while I plied. (As I write this, he is busily trying to invent/MacGyver something to help me with this in future. If he fails this will NOT be a method I am idiotic enough to try again. Fool me once….)
90 or so minutes later, the yarn was plied, but I could see, like last time, that it was too loose for me to be happy with. So after some coffee and pancakes (yes, I was also stupid enough to try this un-caffeinated) I settled in with the plied bobbin and ran it through the wheel again. I mutter as I do this, but I have to say, for the second time now, the second pass made all the difference in the world. Actually, since the last skein had already alerted me to the fact that I ply loosely, I suspect that this one would have been tight enough the first time if not for the unanticipated snags I hit, as the closer I got to the end, the more nicely plied the yarn was already.
In the end…just barely shy of 300 yards. It looks like fingering weight but might be sport – I haven’t had a chance to do a WPI test on it yet. But no matter what, I absolutely love it. So soft and squishy and such lovely colour. I am seriously contemplating using it to warp my loom and then wefting with just a plain natural colour lace or fingering weight to keep the colours from being obscured.