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.

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I split into a 1:3:6 fractal.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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

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The resulting skein…

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Oh my goodness!!!

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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!

One, Two, Fourteen

I’m fairly certain that those of us who choose to handspin yarn for fun commonly let the spinning get away from us. No, I don’t mean any sort of comical cartoon-like spinning wheel come unhinged and rolling down the street inexplicably leaving a trail of yarn in its wake while I chase after it (although my kids absolutely wish something that exciting would be associated with my handspinning). I just mean that you get in a spinning groove and you find yourself spinning just to spin. For a long while. And the skeins of handspun yarn pile up. If you’re like me, they may even pile up to the extent that you start to forget the clever name of the colorway let alone the fiber content and dyer. If you’re like me, you’ve acquired a small box that holds the bags from the fibers you spin. If you’re like me, you inevitably find yourself rifling through said box with your fingers crossed hoping you can decipher which skein of yarn goes with what bag.

I definitely need a new system of organization. Please don’t tell Marie Kondo how bad this has gotten or the fact that my 3 clothing drawers are organized and folded neatly may be overshadowed by this shadow of failure. But let’s go there another day.

Suffice to say, I went to photograph and share my recently finished yarns and found not one or two skeins, but fourteen. Oy. Dating back to the end of last year. Oy. And I did the rifling through the plastic bags with the crossed fingers. Oy.

But, on the bright side, through the crossed-finger search I did come up with a new idea for organizing that may just manage to not step on my voracious appetite to keep spinning with minimal interruption. I suppose time will tell on that point.

For today, I’m going to quickly (or as quickly as I can) share those fourteen skeins with you with minimal commentary. I’ll be leaving out yarn weight and yardage, just because I’ve not yet gotten to logging that all in and there’s really a need here to share them and get these skeins tagged and on the shelf before I get any further behind. I’m hopeful that today you’ll forgive me and be OK looking at some pretty yarns and stand with me, fingers crossed, in hopes that the future will be slightly more organized.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at some pretty handspun yarns!

Fall Foliage 8 from Three Waters Farm on the 85/15 Polwarth/Tussah base.

Maple Leaf Rag from Three Waters Farm, a simple 2-ply on the 80/20 Merino/Tussah base.

Three Waters Farm’s Firefly Dusk, a chain-ply version on the 40/40/20 Merino/Superwash Merino/Tussah base.

A 2-ply Kelp on 85/15 Polwarth/Silk from Three Waters Farm.

From Nest Fiber Studio, this is Damaged Goods on Superfine Merino.

Hazelnut from Inglenook Fibers spun from battlings made of a 40/25/25/10 Corriedale/Superfine Merino/Mulberry Silk/Flax base.

From the Three Waters Farm Top of the Month Club, a 3-ply version of Dried Rose Petals on the 50/25/25 Merino/Bamboo/Tussah base.

Dungarees and Flannel on a 100% Mixed BFL base from Three Waters Farm.

TWF’s Summer Palette on 80/20 Merino/Tussah base.

Roasted Gold on an 85/15 Polwarth/Tussah base from TWF.

Hayride on 70/30 Mixed BFL/Silk from Nest Fiber Studio.

60/20/20 Merino/Cashmere/Silk from Three Sisters Fiber Co. (now Abacus Dyeworks) — This one either had no name or I misplaced the tag with the name (insert eyeroll here).

Chasing Deer on 100% Falkland from Nest Fiber Studio.

And last, but certainly not least…

Multifarious Ruse on 100% Finn from TWF. This one could have been any color and I’d have bought it for the name, but I’m in love with the colorway, too!

And there you have it, all 14 spins!

The World Falls Away

It feels like I have barely stopped moving since Tuesday evening when we brought our little Bear home. All the things happening outside of my home have fallen away as I focus on trying to find the right balance and rhythm to everyday life again. The fact that holidays are approaching in mere days is inconceivable.

I’m woefully behind in all previous planning as I work on savoring these puppy days. On Wednesday Bear became aware of what a leash is and we learned that one of the best ways to teach him is to have Moose lead the way. Now being on a leash is almost entirely about keeping up with his big brother! On Thursday, he discovered pine cones and had his first bath. On Friday, he found out he could play with sticks. Today he learned how much fun a tennis ball can be and went for a walk on his first trail hike and I am still picking the little burs out of his long coat.

As I tried to explain to my mom on the phone, having a 7 week old puppy in the house is kind of like having a toddler and an infant rolled into one. The sweet trust and innocence makes your heart melt over and over again, but there is also that unstoppable curiosity. And it is so much fun to watch him learn about the world, especially how much he looks to Moose for guidance and how Moose tries to teach the little dude. This, you see, is how you help make dinner…

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And this is how you look super pathetic and tiny when Mom is making dinner…

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And this isĀ  how you sleep in Mom & Dad’s bed…

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Yes, since we expect Bear to be over 100lbs and Moose is 90lbs, this will eventually be a space issue, but for now it brings Bear much security and us some much needed rest. We will cross the space issue bridge when the time comes.

Aside from all-things-dog, very little has been happening. We did our best to finish up some pre-holiday school goals. A friend came over and we decorated Christmas cookies. That was chaos one step from mayhem, but so much fun. I finished knitting a hat…

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This is a Rikke Hat (a free Ravelry download) and knit in my handspun yarn from Three Water’s Farm’s August installment of their Top of the Month Club.

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I am very happy with the yarn — it just knit up so nicely!

I was curious about how the brim would be in garter with a smaller needle, but without ribbing and I’m happy to report the fit is great.

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Obviously I made the slouchy version — I just find it’s easier with my longer hair knowing I get a messy bun in there if I need to. I have enough yarn on there to put a pom on, but I don’t think I’m going to bother. I like it as is.

With supervision, I also started another hat…

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I tried Judy Marples’ Knit Night Hat originally, but wasn’t a fan of how it was knitting up in the yarn, so I went searching and found Clare Devine’s Acai hat pattern. It’s a much better fit for the yarn!

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It has a 2 round repeat which is about as good as it gets when you are picking it up and setting it down constantly.

I also started a pair of socks in this Kickapoo Sock Yarn that was a gift from a good friend…

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The colorway is called Blue Heron and it’s one of the prettiest colorways and nicest sock yarns I’ve knit. Obviously I’m not super far, but it’s a start! And sharing the beginning here has reminded me that I finished a pair of socks a couple weeks ago! I’ve worn them a couple times, but I will try to snap some photographs after the holiday.

Speaking of which, if I don’t get a chance to log on and write before next week, I want to wish you all a very heartfelt Happy Holidays! Whatever holidays you celebrate, may they warm your heart, bring a smile to your face. When all is said and done, may you rest as soundly and contentedly as a 7 week old puppy after his first trail hike. And maybe even allow yourself let the rest of the world fall away for a little while to enjoy the simple, fleeting pleasures that make up this life.

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From all of mine, to you and yours — Happy Holidays!!!