Second Guessing the Third Ply

It turns out, being well enough to sit upright at a wheel does not by itself provide time to spin. Somehow, between yesterday and today I snuck away for long enough to finish spinning the punis and ply them. 

These proved an interesting puzzle to spin, because I don’t know exactly what’s in them. The tag says “superfine merino, cashmere, yak, silk, bamboo, Angelina”, but with no clue about proportions. I’m just assuming that the list works like Nutrition Facts on the side of a box of cereal, and the first ingredient is dominant by weight. So I spun them as if the dominant fiber was superfine merino- that’s probably the cheapest ingredient on the list, too, so it seems likely enough. 

Now, I say that as if I know how to spin superfine merino. Halfway through this spin I acquired Beth Smiths book The Spinner’s Book of Fleece, and realized I do not at all know how to spin superfine merino. But I wasn’t far off: I spun the singles at 15 tpi or so. 

But how to ply? I’ve read far enough in Beth’s book to get a little bit of the math for calculating ply, so I ran with that: 8 tpi for the ply, or a little more than half the singles twist. Of course, I realized halfway throughplying that that calculation probably only applies to 2-ply. I haven’t read far enough to know if that’s right for 3-ply or not. 

I got into my own groove with Navajo plying; by the end it was downright enjoyable. I have my own variation on Sarah Andersons YouTube video. It’s very handy to be spinning in a large office chair with armrests to help me position my arms without too much strain. I have this handy 18″ ruler that N found at the thrift store that lays nicely across my lap to measure my lengths precisely. 

Having spun and plied these two colors, I think I was probably right about there being mostly superfine merino in the white punis. However, the brown is quite different. I spun them exactly the same, or at least as much the same as I’m capable of. The white is sprongy, fine, and happy. The brown is slightly thicker, over-energized, and ropey. You can see the difference in the picture below, straight off the niddy noddy. Looking at that list of ingredients, I’m not sure what else the brown could be? This is one mystery that will probably go unsolved. 


Glamour shots and conclusions after they’re dry. For now I’m just happy they’re done!

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