20 December, 2008

I'm traumatised (or, a comedy of errors)

This morning in the blissful summer light I have this:

I spun it myself

(you can click to embiggen all photos)

Close up it looks like this:

Show me the money

~50g of white Polwarth spun into around 67m of yarny goodness... all by myself.

This morning I feel good about the yarn I have made, even though I have this:


Tangled, snarled and ruined single.

Let's just say the plying was less of a dream and more of a nightmare. About a war. It went something like this... (I am seriously not making this up. You think I could make stuff like this up?)

Once upon a time a beginning spinner spun up a heap of Polwarth onto her spindle. Once she had as much spun onto there as she could handle, she decided that it was time to ply. Andean plying had been so much easier in her short length experiments than Navajo, so she decided to take the easy way out. (Mistake #1)

The beginning spinner started winding the single around her hand to create the yarn bracelet used in andean plying. Shortly after starting, the single snapped. The beginning spinner decided this was ok (after swearing a bit), because toward the end of her project she was spinning a bit too fine for the weight of the spindle. She carefully removed the little yarn bracelet and set it aside, starting a new one.

After winding and winding and winding some more the beginning spinner realised that this yarn bracelet idea was not going so well. Her hand had come to resemble the good old "deformed rabbit" that so often makes an appearance during shadow pupptery, and her middle finger was starting to turn an attractive shade of purpley-red. Concerned for the welfare of her hand, the beginning spinner carefully, then desperately tried to remove the yarn bracelet. After some struggling the bracelet came free and the hand started to return to it's normal colouring.

After careful consideration the beginning spinner decided not to return to winding a yarn bracelet. She recalled hearing a method of winding the single into a centre-pull ball and plying from both the inside and the outside. She set off to find her ball winder.

And hunted.

And swore.

And hunted some more... eventually locating the ball winder hiding at the back of the Expedit, buried under balls of acrylic and some handspun lengths. (It was at this point that the beginning spinner should have realised that the handspun lengths were plotting against her.)

The beginning spinner then set up her ball winder on the table with one hand (the other was holding the single and spindle) and set off to wind. Wind she did, with the single flying off the spindle and happily settling (tangle free!) onto the ball winder. Once at the end the beginning spinner let out a sigh of relief, thinking that things might now start going smoothly. (Mistake #2)

Once all the single was wound up and ready, the beginning spinner removed the new-formed yarn cake from the ball winder. As she did so the end caught in the notches came free and lost itself in the middle of the ball. It was at this point that most sane spinners would either start navajo plying from the one free end or would re-spin the ball. Not this beginning spinner. She tried to find the missing end. (Mistake #3)

The ball of yarn coughed up what is commonly known as a yarn barf - a blob of yarn from the centre of the ball - caused by the beginning spinner poking around trying to find the end. Luckily the end was located in this yarn barf and the beginning spinner decided to start plying.

Given that the tricksy single was now all over the place, it wasn't long before the beginning spinner wound (ha!) up with single wound upon itself, it's neighbouring strand and all combinations in between. Plying came to a standstill as the single would not come free. The beginning spinner began to untangle.

The beginning spinner learnt the first frustration with trying to untangle single - as soon as it's not taut it winds itself up. In an attempt to keep the single taut during the untangling process the beginning spinner would hook it around handy body parts... her head, her fingers, her toes, her elbow and occasionally a combination of all of these. The thought crossed the beginning spinner's mind more than once of how apt the scene would be for a LOLme with a caption of something along the lines of "ur doin it rong" or "hoomin learns playing wif yarn not as easy liek cat makes it seem".

The beginning spinner bravely fought the tangle, getting some more single free and plying it up, then untangling again until disaster struck...

One strand of single broke.

Swearing and sighing the beginning spinner knotted the singles on the spindle, then continued untangling until enough single was released and the tangle seemed solved. (ha!) Taking a deep breath, she started plying again, knotting the new lengths of single to the old one.

Sonner rather than later she was greeted with a new tangle. She repeated the LOLscene untangling/desnarling only to break the single again. Tying another knot, she plyed some more...

And found the process repeating itself. Rather than re-iterating the same part of the story, I will tell you that the beginning spinner had to detangle/desnarl and deal with broken single several times. The lovely skein of yarn shown above has several knots through it from rescuing broken single. Sometimes a piece of single had to be cut out... causing the beginning spinner some sadness at losing what would be extra length.

Many hours after beginning the plying, the beginning spinner finally detangled the last part of yarn, plied it and sighed. Then she drank vodka to steady her nerves.

I'm already dreading the next lot of plying I have to do. Please send vodka. And plying lessons.

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