Your local fiber obsessor is a glutton for punishment. Option #1 in my “In Dreams” yarn dilemma started out looking like this:
3000+ yards of beautiful silver silk/nylon cobweb. So fine, in fact, that if I were to knit a shawl out of it, it’d come out about half-sized.
I wanted to use it, and I knew it’d be great for a gradient, so I embarked on the long and tedious process of making it into a two-ply (4-ply, really, since it’s already a 2-ply) lace.
The first step was winding both skeins into balls. That took 45 minutes all by itself. Then I spent many, many hours plying these two balls together on my spinning wheel.
During this interminable process, I joined amputees in creating a market for one-handed video games. Plying these yarns only takes one hand – I just let the two plies slide through my fingers at regular, mechanical intervals – and it’s really too boring to do even in front of TV. I needed something more engaging. So I downloaded a copy of RealMyst from GOG.com, and clicked through the fully-rendered version of one of my favorite golden oldies while plying my little heart out.
This was before the days of my beautiful K’Nex automated swift, so I had to make 6 mini-skeins by hand. My handy-dandy postage scale (one of the most essential tools for the truly obsessed yarnie) told me when I’d wound about a sixth of the yarn so I could start a new skein.
The end result was a lace that, while, still fine, at least would not leave me with aching eyes and an incredible beaded shawl for the next flower girl I met.
I would have taken pictures of my dyeing process, but it took a couple tries, was such an incredible mess that I was too busy continually cleaning blue dye off the floor to find my camera. Capillary action – guess what, it works! Leave a half a skein hanging out of a bowl of dye, and you will find most of your dye on the floor in the morning. But I’m pretty satisfied with the results – As I would put the blue on the outside of the shawl, it’s okay that there’s more on the blue end; it’ll make it more balanced.
All of that to show how major a decision it was when I finally decided which yarn to use…
The gradiant will be used eventually… it will just have a long time to be admired in the stash first. And besides… even though it took a lot of hours and a lot of tedious trouble to make the two-ply silk gradiant, the handspun lace that took 6 months to make wins in the category of torturous, tedious time investment.