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If you don’t care about yarn, scroll to the bottom for the punchline. I’ll save you the time.

After a serious push, my 4-ply gradient cable yarn is done.

The final moments of the second set of two-plies:

Four beautiful balls of two-ply gradient, that I couldn’t stop staring at (at least, for the five minutes I left them alone before I gave in to the desire to ply them together):

There had been some mis-alignment during the first stage of plying. I mean, I was finishing the yellow in one singles ball while I was just starting the yellow in the other. I didn’t want them to get that off-set from each other, so I would stop, break both, wind off the rest of the yellow in the “earlier” ball, and ply from both ends of that before continuing. It happened again with the red, and identically in both sets.

Mercifully, I had no such problem in the final stage of plying. The two sets overlapped almost perfectly, and the slight bit of offset only improves the sense of gradation.

I felt the need to record that final moment of plying, since this does represent three years of on-again, off-again work! Complete with baby trying to eat her fists, naked because she peed on her onesie and I didn’t feel like trooping downstairs to get one right away, and big sis walking into the moving drive-wheel because she was paying attention to the plastic animals in her hands.

A cable-plied yarn is made of two sets of two-ply yarns. Meaning, you ply two singles together, then another set of singles, then you ply those two sets of two-plies together in the opposite direction. It creates an interesting effect, almost chain-like.

With any yarn, you’re trying to create a balance of tension. Spinning the initial singles puts a whole lot of energy into twist going one way, and normally, when you ply, you’re seeking to ply with the right amount of twist to just counteract that tension. With a cable ply, since you’ll be plying back again in the direction of the singles, you want to add extra twist to the first stage of plying.

I tried. I really did. But there’s no way I added enough twist in either direction initially. So I just rolled with it, and in the final stage of plying tried to go light on the amount of twist I put in.

As you can see, the final yarn is about as balanced as the congressional budget. But a good bath and a good snap will loosen many a curl.

Soaked the red separately because I was a little concerned it would run, and I did not spend three years spinning this stuff to have the whole thing suddenly become a shade pinker. Turned out I need not have worried; there was less running than some skeins of commercial yarn I’ve used. Hooray for the fastness of well-rinsed pokeberry dye!

For my records:
Green-to-red skein: 196 yards
Red skein: 203 yards
Red-to-brown skein: 227 yards
Brown skein: 166 yards

Nearly 800 beautiful yards. Probably worsted weight rather than DK, and less yardage than I’d hoped, but I’m not worried about that at the moment. Yarn with this much work and care in it, imperfect as it is, will have the right project found for it in due time.

Now, I need to tell you, I’ve been pushing hard to finish this plying job these past weeks, and there’s a reason for it.

This yarn, when it’s blocked and dried, will go into this chest.

This chest, when it’s filled with a year’s supply of yarn and wool, will be wrapped in blankets, and join all these boxes.

The boxes will go into a truck.

In two weeks, we will drive that truck to Ottawa.

In Ottawa, the boxes will go in a crate.

Once in a crate, the crate will go to Montreal.

Once in Montreal, the crate will go on a boat.

And the boat will meet us in Iqaluit.

Yup. We are moving to Iqaluit.

4 thoughts on “Scroll Down for News

  1. Sorry there wasn’t a whole lot of green in the mix when I dyed the roving for you, but it turned out beautifully. Is there not enough for the original project?


    1. I don’t have enough according to the pattern. I am okay with that for a couple reasons… First, because of how the yarn turned out, I was already going to have to redesign it to knit from top-down (it’s written bottom-up). So if I go forward with that, I might just be able to redesign it to stop when I run out of yarn. Second, I realized somewhere along the line that I might not ever wear a brightly-colored rainbow-gradient CAPE! So I might make the cape out of something, like, BLACK, and incorporate this into a sweater somehow. Or, I could make an awesome little cape for Naomi!


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