Monday, September 19, 2011

Test Six

I sure didn't realize I would have to make so many test swatches, just to find out all the possibilities of plying. There are probably a few more colours I could try out, but this will have to do for now.

After doing the white, I realized I didn't try the opposite end of the scale and use black. I have some nice soft shiny black of unknown fibre content which I've been spinning for about a year, off and on. I don't know what to do with it. But it will work great for a swatch.

So I plied a small sample with more of my colourful singles. This is the ply on the spindle.
Again, you can see the barber pole effect and it shows the eveness (or not) of your plying. The colours do seem to be a bit brighter, don't they?

I then knit up a sample swatch, as always. And this is what I got:
You can quite clearly see that the colours are much brighter when put next to the black. The white seems to weaken all the intensity of the colours, while the black will increase whatever colour there is.

For comparison purposes, here they are side by side.
It's a little hard to believe that these are the very same singles, plied with a white and a black. If I hadn't done them myself, I may not believe it either. I've known that white tends to wash out colours, and have seen that in some examples of knitting, but when it is shown like this in side-by-side swatches, you just can't deny it.

Now, the problem is that I am not sure which would be best to use for plying. I had an idea in my mind when I first started this so very long ago, and with all these samples, that idea has become muddied a bit by the results. I mean, there is nothing that is entirely wrong. Each swatch I've done has some redeeming qualities, and depending on what effect I was trying to achieve, and what item I was knitting, one of them would be the correct thing to do.
Here are the other four samples, with (from left to right): grey, blue, red, itself. I am looking at them now, admiring each of them, and can see that each would be quite perfect for a different kind of item. I can't say No to any of them.

So now I have another dilemma -- what is it that I want to make with this yarn? I think it will have to sit for awhile longer, letting them stew for a bit, and one of them will finally jump out at me and tell me what needs to be done.

In the meantime, I've been working on another bag of delicious combed top in another range of variegated colours. Will I have the same trouble again? Let's hope not.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Test Five

So one more test that I wanted to try, since I haven't done it yet, is to ply with white.

Now, we all know that if you are using two very different colours, you are going to get a barber pole effect. Not my favourite design in yarns, although I have knit some socks with that kind of yarn, and it actually looked okay. So I am not saying no without at least giving it a try.

I spun up a fine white single on the spindle, naturally. Then I plied them. The neatest thing was the barber pole I got! I liked it! And the thing is that you can easily see how even your plying is when it is lying next to each other -- that angle of the ply really shows itself, and when you have several yarns laying side by side like this, you can see if the angle (therefore your plying) of the ply is all the same. Cool!

Then I knit up a sample tonight with this plied yarn. It's very interesting. Nothing like any of the rest. The white, because of the fine yarns, and the tight ply, produces a speckled effect, and when knit up, it looks quite heathered. The white doesn't interfere too much with the colour of the other single, letting the colour differences show up nicely. The white does tend to wash out the colours a bit, but that is minor in this sample.

So now there is one more sample I need to do. This time, I think this will be the last. No, really. There isn't any more I can do -- after this last one.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Testing Four

Well, I'm really venturing out further and further from my initial vision of what this yarn was to do for me. Someone has asked if I have tried plying with itself. And I have to be honest and say I did not. I wasn't planning on doing that, and hadn't even thought of doing a sample! The obvious, I know, but have not done it.

So now I have plied a sample with itself, just so I know what it will do, and then I could dismiss it as not being what I want. Here it is:
I've knit a swatch from it as well.
I dunno --it's not that bad, actually. Not quite what I was visualizing, but still quite acceptable. There is some variation showing through, it is not all blended together. Who would have thought?

Well, okay, so now I have one more idea. Darn these samples! You can't just have one.