Supported Spindle and Navajo Ply - The Challenge Results As Well

So spinning has been on my brain more or less since I left San Diego and my wheel behind over three weeks ago. I returned Saturday to spend all Sunday in bed watching Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and spinning with my brand new (purchased on etsy.com over my holiday) bottom whorl spindle. I bought one from Melody with a sharpened point. My plan was to give supported spindle spinning a try. Supported spindle spinning was introduced to me through YouTube with videos like these...

And I was highly intrigued. I like drop spinning, but I also like sitting in bed. As far as I could tell most supported spindles were sharpened and with a bottom whorl or a weighted body about the middle. I figured if I had a good point to spin on, why would I need to buy one special for $20 plus.

The spindle I purchased came with some sample wool so I got started right away without wasting good roving. I would like to point out if you consider purchasing from Melody, which I recommend highly, that the sample wool has a lot of vegetable matter in it. Not a big deal as it is only a sample to learn on, not roving for an heirloom project. But you might not want to spin it in bed. There was a lot of straw around me when I was through.

I have three pieces that resulted. The first is two ply and a little bumpy.

The second I tried my hand at Navajo plying. (Not me spinning, just an example of the Navajo plying process)

Navajo plying uses a single ply to create a three ply yarn. It makes a giant crochet chain which is spun together. The second sample is so much better. Whether it is because it is Navajo plied or because it was my second attempt spinning resulting in a higher quality single, I don't know. I do know that I am highly looking forward to Navajo plying on the spinning wheel.

The third I spun twice and Navajo plied it. Of course this one is even better than the last. I really think the added twist of the second spinning helped. However, boring, boring job. I think I would just much rather pay better attention on the first spin and spin it tighter.

Next step will be to thwack the samples. I have never done that before and I am anxious to see if it makes a big difference in the quality of the yarn. For the Non Spinners (very recently, so was I) that means wetting the yarn and beating the crap out of it. Supposedly it helps set and evenly distribute the twist, kind of like blocking a knit project.

(I'm beginning to think I need a niddy-noddy. Project plans have been swarming my brain.)

I don't have pictures for you right now. Because you all know how terrible I am at taking pictures, I'm lazy and only get to thinking about it at night. Anyway, it will be worth it when I do get pictures up. For Christmas, my parents (think Mom, she pays a little more attention) got me a Jacquard Acid Yarn Dye Starter Kit from KnitPicks.com. It is currently in the mail (I didn't have room in my luggage for the lovely, lovely presents I got back home) and should be arriving later this week. Then the plan is to try my hand at dying with the three samples I just made.

(Got a cordless drill from my brother-in-law in the package as well. It might help me build a niddy-noddy. Can you tell I got it on the brain?)

I am so excited!

OK. For those anxiously awaiting update on The Challenge. It could totally have happened. I had plenty of time. I got to the waist in one flight, however I realized the brilliant pattern idea I had was resulting in a biased pattern. Not a big deal if you have allowed enough stitches for that. Which I hadn't. I didn't have the heart to rip it out on the plane and start all over so instead I took a nap.

The whole project is sitting to one side right now and if I have enough time to unpack this weekend I'll just wind up all the yarn and pack it away to start again another time. I did love the yarn and I know I'm going to love the sweater I finish with it. However, it's a little warm in San Diego right now and warm knits have completely exited my brain. I need to get North for proper inspiration.

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