Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My Green Gables (and the rogue Niddy-Noddy)

Anne of Green Gables was (and still is) a childhood favorite. I think that I read through that book at least 5 times, and then maybe once through all of the following ones in the series. I always got this very special, "home" like feeling when reading. Someday I'm going to purchase the whole set of books to read to the children when they're a little older.

It is perhaps for that reason that I waited for so long to spin this particular Spunky Club colorway, Green Gables. I wanted to wait until I really knew what I was doing, so that I could do it justice. Well that, and also Green is my favorite color. (Closely followed by blue, yellow, and pink.)

I started with a beautiful 4 oz bump of semi-solid superwash Merino roving from the Spunky Club (April, '06). I wanted the bits of yellow to appear in little blips throughout, maintaining the "semi-solid" feel, and not have any seriously bright yellow stripes (I adore yellow, but sometimes things just need to be muted down a bit). In the photo below, you can see the three stages of color organization and drafting, from the left: I split it into thirds horizontally as equally as I could, than stripped it vertically as thinly as possible into long pieces. The pieces were then drafted out, rolled into balls, and stored until I was ready to use them.
I spun three bobbins up, and apparently I wasn't as even as I thought, because there was a whole lot left on two bobbins after the one ran out. I didn't want to Navajo-ply the remainders, because then that would concentrate the color into strips, making the yarn completely different from the other three ply. Instead, I decided to just ply the two together for a laceweight.

Fingering weight, with quarter for scale:
Laceweight, with quarter for scale:
The top skein is 352 yards of fingering weight 3-ply, and the bottom is 134 yards laceweight 2-ply.
Green Gables
I was so pleased, because when plied, it makes a fairly consistent fingering weight (some parts a bit thinner).

I spun the singles (long-draw method) pretty tightly, then plied it firmly to make a tough sock yarn.

Merino has a short staple with not a whole lot of crimp, so the thinner and more tightly it's spun, the less likely the individual fibers are to drift out and cause fuzzing, pilling and general wear. Also, 3-ply yarn wears harder than 2-ply, which is why I took the time to spin up three bobbins worth. If I'm going to take the time to spin the yarn, knit the socks, than walk all over in them, they'd better last! (I'm also going to knit the toes and heels in a smaller needle to help with the wear factor as well.)

The laceweight is just enough for a perfectly "spring" leaf-lace ascot or open, breezy headscarf.

Something kind of funny -- when I purchased my niddy-noddy, I was certain that I had chosen the 1-1/2 yard one. I was always kind of frustrated with myself for doing so, because it makes the math a little trickier. I was also frustrated, because no matter how thinly I would spin, I wouldn't get the expected yardage out of a 4 ounce hunk of roving. Last night, I finally decided to wind a piece of yarn around it, then lay it out flat and measure. Two yards. Whoops. Well, that's a relief. (And I feel just a bit addled in the head, but, you know.)

I think that Anne would be proud.

Now to cast on!

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