Plying Mistake

Right: Z spun, Z plied Left: S plied

Seriously? 3 posts in one week after such a long hiatus? I don’t mean to shock you into next year. I have a huge backlog of “stuff” that I haven’t had time to blog about.

What’s this post about? Oh, yes. Rookie Mistakes.

After all these years, I still make them. My only excuse for this one is that I have been so wrung out on the work project that I only do things that require zero brain cells when I’m home and not working. When you couple that with using the miniSpinner for the first time in well over a year, you end up with really stupid mistakes. What kind of mistakes? The one where you forget to check which direction the miniSpinner is set to spin before you start plying 12 oz of yarn.

Even worse, I was so disappointed with the plied yarn because it looked so flat and lifeless that I abandoned it there on the spool rack while I pouted. It took me a FULL month to figure out what was wrong. Why so long? It wasn’t until I started to skein it up for Wash Day that I saw why the yarn didn’t look/feel right. It was then that I realized that I had plied it in the wrong direction. Duh!

The singles are Z spun. In the picture on the right, the right yarn was plied Z instead of S (left yarn). Look how much it fluffed up after I ran it back through the miniSpinner, in the correct direction this time. This is before it had a chance to relax in a hot bath.

The picture is of the same length of yarn. What you don’t see is my fingers pinching the yarn just off the bottom of the picture. The top right is as it comes off of the old bobbin, leading to the pinch point. The left yarn is as it heads back into the miniSpinner (top left) after plying it in the opposite direction.

SkeinsThe finished yarn (2nd and 3rd skein from the top of the picture to the left) has a much livelier appearance and softer hand.

Aaah. Much better.

What will this yarn become when it grows up? It will be another fitted vest for layering under winter exercise jackets. I plan to knit narrow stripes with the 2 colors. We will see. The air is crisp now during my morning and evening bicycle commute. I will need something soon.

As for the remaining skeins in this picture, the second from the bottom has already been knitted into the BSJ. That takes care of 3 out of the 5. The pygora blend (top in blue) will be a scarf/shawl. The lavender 3-ply (bottom) will be a sweater/vest of some sort. I haven’t decided what yet. With 1,400 yards, I should be able to do something with it.


This sweater was finished back in early July but sat around waiting for me to sew on the buttons. Yeah. It’s been that crazy around here.

I adapted the Little Hearts baby sweater with my own chart of little red hippo faces *. Why? This is for the baby of my teammate who named our work project RedHyppo (internal acryonym variant) so I thought it would be appropriate to have a red hippo theme baby item. (Partial red hippo is also in progress — still needs stuffing.)

Project finally “launched” last week, hence the frenzy of blog posts and FOs around here. But we are knee deep in the mop up so things here might slow again.


* Hippo face chart is available on my Ravelry project page for this sweater.


Don’t you just love those stripes???? The stripes were in the dyed into the fiber. All I did was split it in half lengthwise and spun the yarn as a 2 ply. You can see the yarn in progress in my previous post, Miracle Fabric. Unfortunately, I ran out of yarn about one color repeat short. I had to finish it off with some Cascade 220 Superwash. It’s slightly denser than my handspun but it worked. Now, I just need to add buttons.

This was such a quick and fun knit. Much more fun than the first time around. Why? Minimal ends to weave in. Unfortunately, I didn’t take notes the first time around either. I zipped along on the sweater before I realized that I forgot to increase for the cuff fullness. Riiiiip.

To ensure I don’t make this mistake again, I decided to write out line by line instructions for myself. After a bit, I wanted stitch counts. So, I stopped once again and built a spreadsheet that calculated my line by line and my ending stitch count by row. Yes, I’m a geek. Anyway, I think it took me longer to build the spreadsheet than it did for me to knit the darn thing. It helped that I took the train into the city to have a tea and chat session with Penny.


  • Yarn: Handspun and Cascade 220
  • Needles: US #4 (3.5 mm) 32″ or 40″ circulars; these were perfect length to work all the way around with enough room to leave the side stitches on the needle while working the center back panel

A few knitting notes on this BSJ (so I don’t lose my notes and have to start all over again next time!):

  • I used double decrease around a center knit stitch so the decreases match the increases.
  • I used a 2 stitch I-Cord all around.
  • I made 3 – 2 stitch buttonhole in the I-Cord edge. (3-2-8-2-8-2)
  • At the bottom corners, I added a single (unattached) I-Cord stitch before and after the centered/corner stitch to make it a clean turn.
  • At the neck corners, I added 2 (unattached) I-Cord stitch to ease the corner.
  • I grafted the end of the I-Cord to the 2 cast on stitches at the beginning.

WashDayI love wash days around here. It’s so colorful. Several of these skeins have been sitting around, waiting for their turn in the bath.

I have a new strategy for setting the twist. I squeeze the water out of the skein with my hands but I don’t spin the water out nor roll it between towels. I just put it on the hanger and let the weight of the water to weigh the skein. I have found that this does a great job of removing any kinks without losing the liveliness/bounce of the yarn since the weight (water) is removed as the skein dries.

Of course, this works better during the summer than it does in winter.  However, I have rigged up a second shower rod in the guest bath centered over the tub and a few inches from the ceiling. This allows items to drip dry into the tub without messy water everywhere.

SkeinsHere they are, all dry and put away. Pretty, aren’t they? From top to bottom:

  • Rainbow Farms Pygora: Loch Ness (50/50 Pygora/Cormo), Seattle (60/35/5 Pygora, Merino, Silk). 4.23 oz, 512 yds, 2 ply. Spun and plied on Tina II.
  • BFL (purchased at Whidbey Island Spin In, can’t find label): one skein more blue, one more minty green. 462 yds (6.03 oz) and 522 yds (6.32 oz) respectively. Spun on Matchless, plied on mSpinner.
  • The Wacky Windmill: Gloomy Day, Superwash Wool (feels like merino). 4.26 oz, 270 yds. Spun and plied on Matchless.
  • Fibermorphosis: Superwash Merino. 11.11 oz, 1,456 yds, 3 ply. Spun on Matchless, plied on mSpinner.

I love my easy chair. It’s comfy. It’s made with microsuede that cleans up with a damp cloth or baby wipe. It’s lovely. Cat hair wipes right off. Stains? Baby wipe or a damp cloth with a bit of diluted dish soap. Lovely.

So what’s the problem? It doesn’t breathe in 100F weather. Sitting in the easy chair in shorts for any duration of time and I feel like I’m suffocating. I start to sweat. At least, I don’t stick to it like I would with leather. But it’s still not comfortable in the heat.

As the weather climbed into the 90s again this weekend, I looked around for something to put under it. I thought about a cotton towel but eyed a piece of fabric that I wove 18 months ago* for a bag to put into the CNCH 2014 gallery. It never screamed bag to me so I never did anything with it.


Yup. It’s fabulous as a seat cover. I was really surprised. The wool and alpaca weft were not itchy in the head at all! Wool really is the original miracle fabric!

I will line the fabric so it looks a bit more finished but I have found a winner! I may even decide to put a bit of batting in for use as a meditation cushion.

* This was supposed to be part of a guild project/display for CNCH 2014. Each stripe of the fabric consists of yarn spun by a guild member and dyed during one of the guild’s natural dye baths (save one commercially purchased yarn). For the most part, these were indigo dyed. There is a bit of walnut in there too. The orange separating stripes were dyed in madder that we dug out of Phyllis’ yard. Each guild member would bring their own weft. My warp was from some grey alpaca roving I had (dyed with logwood grey, I believe).

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