Today in our series I wanted to touch base on plying choices. I should mention early on that I am aiming this post at the beginner spinner, those of you more advanced may wish to skip... although I hope you will read on just to familiarise yourself with some basics in plying.
Ok... Now there are many different ways we could choose to ply our gradient singles, if we haven't decided to keep the yarn as a single ply. Today I want to compare a basic two ply and a Navajo ply to show you how similar the results might be and to discuss why we might choose one over another.
Do you remember this true gradient I showed you in Part 5? Well I have spun this up for us to have a closer look at and I thought it might be an interesting experiment for you to try at home.
So I started with my braid...
I tore the gradient into thirds long the length (tearing from top to bottom)... now of course this will not give us accuracy in our finished yarns, but for the purpose of experimentation it works fine.
The bump with the pink outer layer was spun Navajo ply (see part 2 for a tutorial video recommendation). The two remaining yellow outer layered bumps where spun into singles and then 2-plied together.
You can see in the skeins that there is no obvious difference... and in fact knit up there is little difference either and this is what I would really expect. The same is true of hand dyed progressive gradients (although there may be areas of overlap if your singles aren't equal which will create some hazing. It is also true for creating your own faux gradients shown in earlier parts of this series.
So why bother experimenting? Well, in my opinion the real experiment here is about deciding on ply structure and how that creates a different handle to your knitting and therefore your choice of finished garment. So later when we start talking about designing garments you can also have in mind how plying your yarns can make a good deal of difference to the garment too.
Although our experiment in terms of yardage wasn't strictly accurate (scientific speaking), the finished swatches do show us clearly two things for our consideration in terms of finished fabric;
- Navajo ply over 2 ply yields a shorter yardage. Therefore we would need more yarn to knit say a sweater.
- Navajo over two ply also creates a more 'dense' fabric. Therefore a 2 ply might be better if we want a light a floaty summer shawl for example.
I hope you have found today's lesson interesting... now we can start to look at ways in which preparation of our gradient fibre can give us a number of design options.
Don't forget that I started a Ravelry thread in the group for anyone who wants to share and chat about their gradient experiments.
Also just to mention that I have plenty of gradients and colour sets in stock for you to buy at www.sarastexturecrafts.com
Part 7 follows soon... start thinking about how best to design your knits around gradient spun yarns.
Have a wonderful day... Sara x