Three Three-Plies

March’s skill builder skill of choice of the Three Waters Farm Skill Builder SAL was the traditional 3-ply. Like many, I’ve not spun a ton of traditional 3-ply yarns in my day. When it comes to yardage, traditional 3-plies tend to be fiber hogs. You can get a lot more yardage from a 2-ply. Chain plying allows you to keep colors pure a little easier as well as get a yarn that closely emulates that signature round-ness of a traditional 3-ply. But it’s still not a traditional 3-ply and there’s something inherently wonderful about a traditional 3-ply.

Traditional 3-ply yarns are beautifully round.  With hand-dyed yarn you have what seems like infinite options for color play. You also have strength and durability perfectly suited for sock knitting or any hard-wearing item you want to create. For this month’s challenge I wanted to embrace this technique and really explore the possibilities, at least the tip of the iceberg on this type of yarn.

My first spin of the month is the Calendar Colorway for Three Waters Farm, Common ground on Falkland.

5c6ea6fb-e073-48e7-9e25-e414d90a44c9

I split into a 1:3:6 fractal.

img_6296

I’m not usually quite so deliberate when I break my fiber up, so this spin was awfully fun for me and I love the results. I am very inspired to do some more deliberate experiments with how I break my fiber up.

img_6615

I was plying with my big wheel, my 30″ Schacht Reeves, which isn’t usually what I choose for plying just because I prefer to take my time, but I knew I wanted to get this yarn to have a fairly high twist so it was a good choice for this particular project.

img_6618

I can’t say enough good things about the Falkland base, too. It spins into such a soft, silky yarn — it’s actually hard to believe it’s 100% wool because in my hands it almost feels like a silk blend.

My second spin was Tranquil Gleam on a BFL/Nylon base 80/20 (it’s not currently available on the BFL/Nylon base, but it is available on the Polwarth/Silk 60/40 base currently). Unfortunately when I spun this I didn’t really spin with a plan because I was distracted by the fact that it was a BEAUTIFUL spin.

img_6273

I mean, absolutely gorgeous to the point that I may have to get it to try on the 60/40 Polwarth/Silk because I can’t even imagine how insanely amazing that would be.

img_6619

I kind of wish I had enough for socks with this, but unfortunately I think the fiber hog strikes again with this 4oz skein and I’ll have to shoot for a hat. I don’t think I can complain about that though.

img_6620

However it gets used, it’ll be stunning.

And last, but certainly not least, a little combination spin! A while back I noticed that I thought the TWF colorways April Showers and Wood & Concrete would be pretty cool used together.

I’d always thought I’d ply them together or spin them separately and then weave them together. Then someone in the TWF Ravelry Group Skill Builder Thread mentioned spinning a 3-ply gradient with 2 colorways. If April Showers is “A” and Wood & Concrete is “C”, she created 4 skeins which in turn created one long gradient that were set like this:

AAA – AAC – ACC – CCC

Instead of spinning 4 different skeins, I opted to attempt to create 2 matching gradient skeins. I’d need 24 pieces total, so I broke each 4oz braid into 12 equal(ish) pieces. First, I divided them into their 3 color repeats and then each repeat into 4 equal(ish) pieces. Doing this for both colorways, I got 24 pieces, 12 from April Showers and 12 from Wood & Concrete. And while I’ve just gotten through one skein so far, this is the plan:

Screenshot (92)

With the idea that the finished skeins would knit in that same, gradient style as her 4 consecutive skeins, from end to end:

Screenshot (90)

The resulting skein…

img_6623

Oh my goodness!!!

img_6622

Beyond my wildest dreams! I am currently working on skein #2 of this gradient, but I am hoping to have a chance to figure out yardage on this beauty and then cast on some socks with it as soon as possible. Even if I only have enough yarn for shorties, I think this is going to have to be toe-up socks so I can see the full grandness of what this yarn will be.

I’ve certainly learned to appreciate and love the versatility of the traditional 3-ply yarn this month and I’m sure I’ll be inclined to spin more of them now that I’ve spent some time experimenting with them. For now, though I’ve got that second skein to finish and then it’ll be on to chain plying, the skill builder technique for April!

22 thoughts on “Three Three-Plies”

  1. Love those 3plys and the colour combos you have got. Really inspired to get those rovings out and spin some 3plys for myself. Thankyou

    1. Falkland is a pretty special fiber! And even though it’s the second time I’ve spun this colorway, I could spin it another half dozen times to see more iterations and still not be bored!

  2. Your yarns are lovely! I am also spinning a combo gradient, planned to do it the way it was described, but as I was spinning, I was thinking the same thing you describe for the next time I do it. No ends to weave in later! I look forward to seeing how yours knits up. 😉

      1. Well, not ideal, but you will make it work! I am wondering if I will have the same issue. Still working on the first braid, a lovely merino cashmere blend someone gifted me (😉) that is spinning to almost a thread. My challenge will be to spin the other the same way. Or make a gradient gimp with a lace weight end. 🥴

      2. I’m hopeful they’ll be close enough, but we shall see. I think I will finish up my French Braid Cardigan first because I am really weirdly into knitting it, but then I will have to see how these socks work up.

    1. Yes! If you are on Ravelry, go to the Three Waters Farm Group! At the start of last month’s Skill Builder thread I have a bunch of instructional links posted for a traditional 3-ply!

Comments are closed.