Luscious Gracious! Look What We Made Today!

A blog devoted to the art of the Luscious Gracious clan.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hello Amyville Baby Sweater

Ahh, the joys of Navajo plying.

Ok, I learned to spin a few years ago, and immediately decided that Navajo Ply wasn't for me. I kept getting my fingers tangled in the wool. I had soooo many problems with it, including cutting off my circulation and getting all of these annoying little twists of one ply (coils) that wouldn't stay within the whole of the plied yarn. "Bah!" I said, "It just isn't worth it!"

So, I sighed deeply every time I "ruined" a perfectly good batt with great color breaks (mostly ones from Stephanie at Spritely Goods and Adrian at Hello Yarn). I either left them as one-plies, which was somewhat ok, or I plied them into muddied oblivion and complained to all of my spinner friends.

"You could always Navajo Ply it," Stephanie said, over and over, patient as she is, hoping one day I would listen to her. Maybe so I'd stop my crybabying, but probably not. She's very Zen.

"I hate Navajo Ply," I'd say, (and think, "and it hates me"). So I'd spin a batt or two of something plain. Ahh, plain. I do adore plain.

But recently I started to get angry, which usually means I'm about to learn something. I decided to give it another try, on some singles that didn't have another purpose and could be, if needed, trashed. I tried again, with the same results. The more I twisted, the tighter the loops became, until I was AGAIN wrapped up in the yarn and unable to do anything but curse and cut.

For the life of me, I can't remember who told me to, or why I decided to go to YouTube to see if there was a video. Maybe it was Divine Intervention of the Knitting Goddesses. Behold! The first one that came up when I Googled "Navajo Ply Video" had good reviews. So I downloaded me my very first YouTube video.

The heavens opened up!! Maybe you'd like to see it. Look here.

Suddenly, I understood! Maybe I was one of those people who needed to hold her hands out to the side of the wheel, making BIG motions. Instead of the tiny, right in my lap, loops that I had been making, I understood that I needed to hold the three plies with one hand while controlling the twist with the other. My feet followed along like they knew what they were doing. I couldn't believe it! Real yarn! Looked like it came from a store! The plies snuggled against each other, no coils, and the colors stayed separate!! A dream come true!

Long story short (too late), I now Navajo ply everything. Whether it needs it or not. I was even able to teach a new friend (Hi Jodie!) how to Navajo Ply from across the table the other day. Quite a moment for me!

Betsy and I have been spinning together when we can, which is never often enough, but is always fun! She and I also split fiber sometimes, including the Hello Yarn Fiber Club. I traded her a Spritely Goods "Tulips" batt for the Feb. installment of Hello Yarn 2009 club's "Thrive", a Corriedale wool top. After Navajo plying, I got about 175 yards from the 4 oz, which is VERY thick for me, but what I wanted.

Look how pretty!! Thanks Adrian! For being a genius. There's a tiny skein of Begonia-colored pink merino in the bowl too, which I spun as an accent yarn, originally planning a Lucy-sized vest, which would require a skein or two of another handspun. The pink was one of many I tried out, and the most successful. The more I work with color, the more I admire my friends who get it right so often!

It didn't really matter....the yarn was not destined for Lulu after all. The day I finished drying the skeins, I got the news that Amy is having a baby this November, and baby is a GIRL, which always doubles the knitting fun! (Sorry baby boys everywhere). I dug through my notes and found the info from a baby sweater I designed for Lucy's teacher two years ago, and made a gauge swatch from "Thrive".



Here it is, in all of it's rainbow-intact glory! It's a simple raglan cardigan with seed stitch borders (my own pattern, but not hard to find one similar if you need one...just pick up any knitting book with a baby in it somewhere).

We were lucky enough to meet the expectant couple and other knitting friends for brunch over the weekend, and Amy really liked the vintage buttons, which she thought look like M&M's. We had a wonderful time catching up and talking about baby girls. She also brought gifts. THIS ring for me (couldn't you just die? Pink Cupcakes! Two of my favorite things!) and lollipop necklaces for the girls. They've been wearing them already! Also, Lily made a cool box, and Lucy created a fabric flower on a bag from the new books Stephanie brought for us. Generous, lovely people all of them!

Life is good!
Knit on, and get ready for that Needle Harvest!
-Kiki


22 Comments:

At 1:08 PM, September 01, 2009, Blogger Stephanie said...

the yarn looked gorgeous in the sweater - and I did notice it was navajo plied - but then we got to talking (and eating) and I totally forgot to ask when you'd learned the new skill! :) Thanks for the link - I've been battling the navajo plying all this time too, so I'll definitely have to give it a try! Was so good seeing you all this weekend :)

 
At 9:09 PM, September 01, 2009, Anonymous amyville_in_az said...

Kiki-- you will never know how special this little sweater is to me- Thank you so much, and I love reading about the background story :) right now this little sweater sits on my craft table so I can ooogle over it daily, as I am not ready to put it in Ella's chest of drawers yet. Thankyou my friend! <3

 
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