Just Exactly

I love plying.


Well, okay, maybe I don’t actually love plying that much. It’s tedious and fussy, and I find myself frequently racked with self-doubt about things like consistency, relative angles, and twists per inch.

(We will ignore the fact that these anxieties would be easily remedied by actually taking a class, or sampling.)


But it’s the process of watching what I’ve been ever-so-patiently working on, striving for consistency and evenness, trying not to rush but just enjoy the ruddy process – it’s the process of watching all that patience become A Finished Thing.


This is a 2-ply yarn made from Jamieson and Smith shetland roving sampler, with five natural colors of shetland wool. It was extremely easy to spin, and the CPW made the process very fast. I was aiming for about the same size singles as a 400 yard 3-ply I did recently, with the hope that this might end up a thick lace or ultra-light fingering of around 600 yards.

I achieved a gradient by winding each color of singles into a center-pull ball, then alternating between spinning from both ends of the same ball and spinning the last of one ball with the beginning of the next. So the color switches back and forth between a marled blend and a solid, with an extra-long patch of white and black solid at the two ends.

As I was winding the finished yarn onto the niddy noddy, I counted how many turns each color took, to see if I had been fairly even. I was worried that I had gotten thicker as I went on, because I tend to get thicker as I go on, no matter how great a struggle I try to make with my vicious impatience. I saw from the number of turns that I had managed to stay even enough that I probably shouldn’t worry about variation in my pattern choice, though it might be a little thicker in the middle colors and thinner in the black and white. (I am thinking something semi-circular, involving chevrons and integrated increases. Suggestions welcome.)



Then I added up the total number of turns, did some quick calculations to work out how many yards I had total…

And it’s 600 yards exactly.

How often does that happen?

2 thoughts on “Just Exactly

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