The other wheel.

I’m not sure what prompted it, but I decided to get out my other spinning wheel today. The wheel I use almost exclusively is a Lendrum, but I also have a Schacht Matchless. And today, I unearthed it from the unspeakable mess that is (was) my office and dragged it (gently) into the living room.


(I think my project for next week—spring break, that is—very well might be to set that disaster of a room back to rights. I’ll save that for another post.)

See that brown yarn on the bobbin? I knew there was more where that came from. I just knew there was a whole other bobbin full of that yarn and a chunk of fiber left to be spun, thus ensuing even more rummaging around in the rubble. Half an hour later, I finally found it, and I prepared to start spinning.

I’m not going to lie; I was a little nervous. The Matchless, being double-drive and all, is an entirely different animal from the Lendrum. I thought it might be out of tune after a few years of neglect, and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get it adjusted. I was worried I just wouldn’t be able to spin on it.

I saw down, drafted out some of the fluffly BFL wool, started treadling, and voila! I was in business. It didn’t squeak or squawk. It didn’t yank the wool out of my hands, nor did it spin out into a loose mess. I kept thinking, This is just gliding along like butter! And it was.

When I bought this wheel, I bought the spinning fiber with it—four ounces each of the brown and of the white/brown blend seen in the background. I bought this wheel and that fiber with a plan. (A plan?!) Spin each color into singles and ply them together.

I don’t know what happened. I just walked away from it.


And then today, I came back.

I do have a suspicion about what happened. I think I was having trouble solving the bobbin problem. See, I only have four bobbins. If it takes two bobbins to spin up each of the colors, what am I going to ply onto? As I spun the remaining brown fiber, I pondered this question.

The most obvious (yet least satisfying) answer is to buy more freaking bobbins. Well, yeah. But they’re not that cheap. And somehow I have it in my mind that I am going to spin through this stuff in approximately 2.5 minutes, so how am I going to get these mythical extra bobbins shipped to my house that fast? See my problem?

Then I had an idea: What if I filled my third bobbin with white/brown yarn (remember, the first two bobbins are preoccupied with solid brown), and then instead of spinning white/brown onto the fourth bobbin, I start plying the two together on that fourth bobbin?

(Did you follow that?)

Then, as I was finishing spinning the brown and still had a half-empty second bobbin, I had another idea: What if, instead of switching to the third bobbin to start the white/brown, I just fill up the rest of this second bobbin with it?

Whoops, the yarn missed a hook there on the flyer!


I tried to think of ways that could go wrong. The only thing I could think of was this: So I’ll probably have three bobbins of yarn—one with all brown, one with all white/brown, and one that is half brown and half white/brown. If I start plying the all-brown bobbin with the all-white/brown, one of those bobbins is going to run out first, and if it is the brown one, I’ll be stuck because the rest of the brown will be buried under the white/brown. Of course, I could wind the intervening yarn onto the newly empty bobbin, but what a pain in the rear.

The most logical thing, I think, is to start plying the all-brown bobbin with the half-and-half bobbin, and that above crisis should be averted.

Other than that, I couldn’t think of a reason not to have two singles on the same bobbin, so I went with it!

There I go again, missing that last hook! Weird!

I just attached the white/brown to the brown and continued as if it is the same yarn. I mean, I guess it is.

So…this whole plying business could get hairy, especially since I will have eight ounces and just one free bobbin to ply on for a while.

Another option would be to ply with the Lendrum. I have a jumbo flyer for it—with jumbo plying bobbins. I just really want this project to be done with the Matchless.

We shall see.

•••

Meanwhile, Firebolt is still in action. Today, I was knitting on it in public, in the hospital lobby.


No one said anything, as often happnes, but a few people were eyeing me. Maybe it was because I had my earbuds in—the universal sign for Don’t speak to me. I wasn’t trying to be unfriendly. I was just finishing listening to the most recent episode of Dear Hank and John.

Don’t forget to be awesome.

Downtown girl.

Progress on Firebolt is slow. I think I’ve only added one pattern repeat since my last post. It just takes so long to get to the end of a row as I’m coming up on four-hundred stitches across.

I am feeling super-hipsterish, drinking my chai latte at the local coffee shop and tap-tapping away on my pseudo-laptop.


Last week, I ordered this iPad case with a Bluetooth keyboard, with which I am typing this post and have typed most posts on this blog. I’m almost used to it.

On Tuesday afternoons, I bolt away from the school as soon as possible. (Today, I had my bags packed and was waiting at my classroom door, trying to have enough decency to wait for the final bell to ring before I left. Trying.) Tuesday night is knit-night with my friends at Black Dog Fiber Studio. (Hi, Kim! Hi, Kate! Hi, Maria—the studio’s owner!) We meet at 4:00, so between work and studio, I stop here at Big City for a hot drink, delicious peanut butter cookie (not pictured because, duh, I ate it already), and some typing time.

In a few minutes, I will make the convenient block-and-a-half walk to Maria’s studio. I’m hoping she has a scale I can use (mine is kaput) so I can weigh what’s left of the Firebolt yarn. If I have less than an ounce left, it’s time to start thinking about the next phase of this shawl(ette)—ruffles! 


A not-so-quick note on my quick flight from school:

As I was driving along in the after-school traffic this afternoon, I was thinking about how a few years ago—hell, maybe a few months ago—I wouldn’t have thought my leaving this early in the day—daylight!—possible. This is my ninth year in the classroom, and I’ve only now begun to feel like I can get away without staying at least an hour after school. Getting away this early is something that I have to make myself do. It’s so easy to sit down at my desk and get stuck there for hours. These days, if there is no after-hours obligation, I can manage to get away within half an hour. This is immensely helped by the fact that I teach the same course all day long. And! And this year, I have last-hour planning. By the time that last class walks out my door, I want nothing more than to rest for a while at my desk, but I’ve trained myself to get all my shtuff ready for the next day first—date and goals on the board, PowerPoint updated, work graded (ahem, sometimes), “lesson plan” ready, everything. That way, on Tuesdays, I can make a bee-line for my car and enjoy my afternoon. Most other days of the week? Nope. Bus duty, meetings, and extended school services keep there at least an hour later. Tomorrow? Parent-teacher conferences for two hours. Heaven, help me.

Thinking about mitered squares.

I am not a monogamous yarner. I am never knitting only one thing. I am never working on only one fiber craft.

Right now, I have Firebolt on the needles. I have an experimental project featuring a skein of the Three Irish Girls’ Adorn sock yarn in the colorway Kaleidoscope. There is some merino-and-silk blend started on my spinning wheel. There isn’t any crochet going at the moment, but my fingers are itching for something with shelly clusters of stitches like Catching On, otherwise known as the Virus shawl.

I am always going to have more than one project going at a time.

And so it should come as no surprise that, while I am still plunking away on Firebolt, my mind is wandering elsewhere.

Thank goodness Dale’s new truck came with a yarn holder!

Recently, my friend Kate finished a gorgeous baby blanket based on mitered squares. As I watched her knit, it occurred to me: I have never done mitered squares!

I am not a big Pinterest person, but it seemed the likeliest place to get some ideas. I poked around there for a while, looking at both knitting and crochet ideas. (Those are links to my respective boards.) While I like the idea of colorful mitered granny squares, I decided to just make a go of it with knitting.

I pulled out my US 6 straight needles, which I hardly ever use, and my cone of lovely speckled cotton yarn. (I’m pretty sure it’s Peaches & Creme, but I cannot remember the colorway.) Not sure of which technique I’d like best, I said what the hell and made three different kinds!

They are all based on the same concept, though:

Cast on ever-so-many stitches. Knit a row. Knit another row, but this time, decrease by two stitches somewhere in the middle. Repeat these two rows and watch as the ends of the cast-on row magically levitate upward to become the corners of a square—or diamond, really. When no stitches (well, one, two, or three) remain, break the yarn, run it through these last stitches, and cinch it up. Tada! A mitered square!


Mitered Square #1

For this one, I cast on an even number of stitches, in my case twenty.  I placed a stitch marker smack-dab in the middle so that I had ten stitches on either side. On the decrease row, I did a k2tog right before the stitch marker and then a ssk right after.


When I had four stitches left (two on either side of the marker), I did the decreases, and then I ran the yarn through the last two stitches.


This is what I ended up with:

Front

Back


Mitered Square #2

 This time, I cast on twenty-one stitches for an odd number. Instead of doing right- and left-leaning decreases, I did a centered double decrease across the middle three stitches—slip two as if to k2tog, knit one, pass slipped stitches over knit stitch. An extra tweak with this one is that I purled the center stitch. No stitch marker was really necessary because the stockinette “seam” down the middle was so obvious.

When three stitches remained, I did the centered double decrease, broke the yarn, and pulled it through the last stitch.


Here is what I got.

Front

Back

 

And yep, I sure did forget to purl the center stitch on the wrong side once. Was it worth fixing on this little swatch? Nope.

Mitered Square #3
This one was meant to be the best of both worlds, but honestly, I think it made it a little unnecessarily complicated. I cast on twenty-one and did the k2tog and ssk decreases on either side of the center stitch, which I left alone, except for purling on the wrong side. See? It’s like #1 and #2 combined.


The extra weirdness happened when I had three stitches left. I couldn’t do the decreases on either side of center, and I hadn’t been doing the sl2k1psso business, so it didn’t seem right. So I just ran the yarn through the last three stitches, but in hindsight, the centered double decrease probably would have been fine.

Here’s the final product.

Front

Back

 

There you have it! Three mitered squares. In case you feel like you have been seeing the same square over and over, here are all three, side by side.

Despite my flub-up on #2, I think it is my favorite. Something tells me that this is how mitered squares are supposed to look. If I come up with a project, that is definitely the technique I’ll use. It looks the cleanest, and the decrease happens in (kind of) one step. I just have to remember to always purl that center stitch on the wrong side!

I have no idea what I would do with these guys. Joining them together is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish—one I’m not sure I’m interested in! If I did take a whack at it, I’m pretty sure I would use a yarn with long color changes because I’m not about that weaving-in-ends life.

In the meantime, I can kind of imagine a dishcloth made from a single mitered square. Maybe fifty-one cast-on stitches?

The thing I like most about these is that the rows get shorter as I go. Right now, Firebolt (a crescent shawl) is growing, growing, growing with every repeat. I enjoy the pattern, but there is definitely the fatigue of increasingly long rows. With these squares, the longest row in the cast-on row, and things just get zoomier and zoomier from there.

That’s an experience I could get used to!

Of Firebolt and Offred.

I have just finished listening to the audiobook of The Handmaid’s Tale. Meanwhile, Firebolt grows.

As the Audible credits played, I worked on the tenth repeat of “broomsticks” in the pattern.


I was on a wrong-side row.

Something the narrator says in Chapter 45 resonated strongly within me. It is the last “regular” chapter of the novel, and Offred has just learned some unsettling news. Her own fate is soon to be questioned. At a figurative and almost literal crossroads, she grounds herself through breathing:

I breathe in, deeply, breathe out, giving myself oxygen. The space in front of me blackens, then clears. I can see my way.

I had to pause and rewind the audio. (Rewind. Isn’t that funny and so outdated? I guess reverse would be a better word. Truly: I tapped the counterclockwise arrow to skip backward thirty seconds.) I listened again. Giving myself oxygen. Breathing as a gift.

Suddenly, I became aware of my own breathing. With each breath, I give myself the gift of oxygen. I was reminded of the times when I have used deep breathing and meditation to calm and center me. Space does go black, and then the way before me does seem at least a little clearer.

Breathing in, breathing out.

Of course, I had to backtrack the audio again, as I was lost in my own thoughts.

Giving myself the gifts of oxygen and knitting, I listened through to the end of the novel. The main story ended unexpectedly soon because I saw there were more than thirty minutes left, and I was on Chapter 45 of 46. But Chapter 46 was really “Historical Notes,” which confused me at first because I was thinking this was an appendix to the novel, but I quickly realized that it, too, was fictional and part of the story.

To those of you who have not read The Handmaid’s Tale, I apologize for the following and will do my best not to put any spoilers here.

Those of you who have read it: Do you remember this sort of epilogue at the end?

I’m curious what others think about it. I am sure there have been—somewhat ironically—scholarly papers written about it, but I haven’t had the chance to look into those yet. For the most part, I am disappointed by its inclusion. I am not sure it has added anything that I might not have thought of on my own—with the exception of the Commander speculation, but I’m not sure I care. The rest of it, I could have figured out or speculated for myself. It almost seems as if Atwood doesn’t trust her audience enough to draw these conclusions ourselves. Am I missing something? The only purposesI can think of so far is that—minor spoiler alert!—she wants to make sure we know that the “Gilead regime” ends and is a thing of the past.

Still, I think the novel could have ended more solidly with Offred’s last line of narration.

That being said, The Handmaid’s Tale will likely rank pretty highly among novels I have read. It is difficult to say that I liked it because the entire listening experience was an uncomfortable one, and I assume the reading experience would be the same, though I believe Claire Dane’s performance added a fitting complexity to the text.

This story is one that I won’t soon forget, especially not now in our rapidly changing and politically-charged environment. It only deepens the chills down my spine when I see or hear Make American Great Again.  

In case it isn’t clear: I very much recommend Atwood’s novel. But it isn’t for the faint of heart or for anyone who is looking for a pleasant escape. It is, however, for those who worry—or troublingly, even moreso for those who don’t worry—about the direction our country has taken recently.

As for the knitting, I don’t think I am anywhere close to done with this shawl.

It began with one “broomstick” motif, and with each pattern repeat, there are three more in the row. Now, there are twenty-eight broomy triangles in the repeat I am on now.


Once I finished the novel, I decided it was time to upgrade the cable length for the circular needles. I could no longer spread the stitches out to see the whole thing in an uncramped stated. I think it was on a 24-inch cable.


I dug through my nest of interchangeable cables and found one that is suitable. I have no idea how long it is, but I know it’s long enough—for now.


As I slipped the stitches from the shorter cable to the longer, I couldn’t help but count them. Three hundred fifty-one. That didn’t seem right, so I checked the pattern and did the math. Yep, for the selvedge and edging plus twenty-eight repeats of the motif for that particular pattern row: 351 stitches.

Most rows are longer than the one before, considering there are yarnovers separating the three-stitch garter edging from the body of the shawl. However, there are some rows that contract the length with two- and three- stitch decreases. I don’t pretend to understand how this all works. (I mean, math. Duh.) But I am impressed by it.

Sooner or later, I will transition to the third phase of the pattern, which has ruffles. I know ruffles can double and triple the stitch count, so I need to be mindful of my remaining yardage. On someone’s Ravelry project page, I think I read that this part took 17% of the total yarn. Yikes.

Perhaps I need to introduce a scale into this process.

I am not a precision sort of person, but I would really hate to have to tink or frog because I just continued knitting in blissful ignorance.

•••

I think I will wait a while before watching the film of The Handmaid’s Tale. (Okay, like a day or two.) I don’t want my perception and processing of the book to be entirely erased by the movie, but I am also dying to see it interpreted on screen. Plus, I would like to be able to talk about it with the Husband, who I hope will watch it with me.

A knitter’s tale.

After I finished Catching On, I decided to try out a pattern I had come across in my Ravelry searches: Firebolt.

So during the last minutes of St. Patrick’s Day, I cast Frog Prince onto these green needles.

How festive!

Of course, I messed up about thirty seconds after posting this picture to Instagram and Twitter and had to rip it out.

(OMG, I frogged it. Get it?!)

Whatever. This picture is totally of the wrong side of the project anyway.

The knitting is mostly pleasant, except for the dreaded 1to7, in which I must magic one stitch into seven by knitting through the back loop and then thrice yarning-over and knitting into that same back loop.

My blood pressure goes up during that row.

But even that isn’t terrible. And I’m happily plugging away on the repeats and keeping my place using a free app called JKnit, which allows me to upload the pattern PDF and move highlighter row along the page to mark the spot.

(I would show you a screenshot, but I paid a pretty penny for the pattern, and I doubt the designer, Mia Rinde, would appreciate my flashing around her pattern for free.)

As I knit, I’m listening to The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood on Audible.


How have I never read this book?! I have Atwood’s novel The Robber Bride on my bookshelf because I was supposed to read it for a women’s literature class in college, but I never did read it. Terrible English major!

Anyway, I’ve been seeing references to The Handmaid’s Tale on social media in the context of our current political climate, and it’s being turned into a movie, TV show, or miniseries (or something). And apparently there is a 1990 film with a stellar cast, so I see that in my future.

So when I got the email from Audible telling me I needed to spend one of my six accumulated credits soon or I would lose one, I looked into this book.

Claire Danes narrates, and apparently she won an award for it. Deservedly so! I’ve listened to many audiobooks, and this is one of the best performances I’ve ever heard.

If you’re unfamiliar with the premise of the novel—as I was—it is set in a dystopian future United States, which is (interestingly) probably our past, considering the book was published in 1985. The government has been taken over by a religious group that is centered around subjugating women under the guise of providing them “freedom from” certain abuses of the past (think rape and other sexual assault). The population has been stricken with infertility, and it is the role of fertile women to offer their bodies as vessels for reproduction. These women, including the main character, are “handmaids,” assigned to childless households. The Handmaid’s Tale is the story of Offred—literally “of Fred,” to identify her as a certain man’s possession—who remembers life before this societal restructuring. The story is revealed bidirectionally—the current story of handmaids unfolding and the flashbacks of life leading up to her current “reduced circumstances.”

It is a somewhat unsettling experience to knit while listening to this book. The craft of knitting has a recurring role. At one point Offred muses:

There’s time to spare. This is one of the things I wasn’t prepared for—the amount of unfilled time, the long parentheses of nothing. Time as white sound. If only I could embroider. Weave, knit, something to do with my hands. I want a cigarette.

Aside from her daily shopping trips and reproductive duties, a handmaid has very little to do, but she isn’t permitted any possessions, especially ones that might be used as weapons—against someone else or, more likely, against herself.

Serena Joy, the woman for whom Offred is an intended surrogate, is a knitter. She, as the Commander’s wife, is allowed luxuries such as yarn, needles, and cigarettes. Knitting intarsia scarves for the members of the military, called Angels, is her primary occupation. Offred tells the reader:

Sometimes I think these scarves aren’t sent to the Angels at all, but unraveled and turned back into balls of yarn, to be knitted again in their turn. Maybe it’s just something to keep the Wives busy, to give them a sense of purpose. But I envy the Commander’s Wife her knitting. It’s good to have small goals that can be easily attained.

Knitting here seems a sort of frivolity, a pointless endeavor. That line about “small goals” reads as condescending, but I identify with this, the need to be able to accomplish something with my hands.

In another scene, Offred describes an encounter with Serena. The wife, whose hands are becoming increasingly crippled, asks the handmaid to hold a skein of yarn while she winds it into a ball.

Serena winds, the cigarette held in the corner of her mouth smoldering, sending out tempting smoke. She winds slowly and with difficulty because of her gradually crippling hands, but with determination. Perhaps the knitting, for her, involves a kind of willpower; maybe it even hurts. Maybe it’s been medically prescribed: ten rows a day of plain, ten of purl. Though she must do more than that. I see those evergreen trees and geometric boys and girls in a different light: evidence of her stubbornness, and not altogether despicable.

Here the craft earns some respect—or gets upgraded from “despicable,” at the least.

And then the metaphor I’d been anticipating:

Or she stays in the sitting room, knitting away at her endless Angel scarves, turning out more and more yards of intricate and useless wool people: her form of procreation, it must be.

Knitting as a form of birthgiving. Not just “something to do,” but another surrogate.

The product of yarn and needles holds heavy symbolism in this novel, so holding them in my hands while listening feels meaningful—a connection, yet also a betrayal.

To be honest, I haven’t figured it out yet.

I have about three hours of listening left in the book, and I don’t think I will be anywhere near done knitting Firebolt by then. I may look into the film, and upon further research, I see that the miniseries is set to “air” on Hulu late next month. (I don’t currently have Hulu, but I did do a free trial so I could watch the first ten episodes of This Is Us, so now that rest of that season has aired, I do think it’s time for a subscription renewal…) It may take watching all of that for me to finish this shawl.

Catching on.

After my last project spinning the unsatisfying two-ply yarn, I began this braid of Polwarth from Sheepish Creations with a plan.


Well, sort of.

I knew it was going to be chain-plied.

I knew I wanted a smooth, round yarn, and three-ply is just that. The combination of three strands together tends to balance out my thick-and-thin single into something relatively consistent.

I also knew that I wanted to preserve the colorway, not mix and muddle it. And chain ply does that, too.

So in November, I began spinning.

I spun through the election.

img_0201
I spun through the inauguration.

img_0697
(Yes, I have an obsession with a certain color combination.)

And earlier this month, I plied.

img_0964-1
A lovely and imperfect chain ply.

(And of course, I immediately started spinning something new…

img_0971
…but this isn’t about you, gorgeous blue silk and Merino!)

While I love to spin and knit (and crochet), I haven’t done much in the way of knitting (or crocheting) my handspun. But something about this newly finished yarn made me want to make it into something more.

Maybe because it reminded me so much of a full-color edition of The Wind in the Willows I’d read once around this time of year.

img_1058
(I don’t have the one with color illustrations in my personal collection. In college, I borrowed a creaky hardback copy from the children’s section of the public library and carried it to the city park to read. It was a gloriously delicious afternoon well spent.)

With Spring coming on, I too am thinking about getting out and paddling along a stony river in my kayak.

And I started thinking about turning this yarn into a thing more than string. A springy thing.

I searched Ravelry high and low for a pattern to knit. And it even occurred to me that I could crochet something. The only time I ever finished a handspun project, it was knitting. Plus, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I don’t see that many people crocheting with natural fibers.

And it was in that way I decided I would definitely crochet this yarn.

The Ravelry search continued. I kept coming back to the Virus shawl. I’d seen a very pretty one made from Caron Cakes, but the name of this thing. Virus?! How atrocious. If I’d had to pay money for the pattern, I don’t think I would have done it. Who wants to pay for a virus?

At first, the chart intimidated me. I can barely follow written crochet instructions, but a chart?! Yikes. But for real, though: Isn’t this diagram pretty all on its own?

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Then I watched this video.

Once the lightbulbs started popping on, away I went, a-virusin’.
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I loved the shape it was taking, and I felt so smart executing the pattern!

The work-in-progress was the perfect size for one of my favorite project bags, so I stuffed the shawl and yarn inside—which I then stuffed in my bigger bag (yes, I like collecting things Russian-nesting-doll style [like this sentence])—and it went with me everywhere.

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(Bag purchased here. Mine is the small size.)

I crocheted at home watching Love with the Husband or listening to Fresh Air. I crocheted in the truck, riding shotgun. I crocheted during Tuesday “knit night” with my friends while enjoying a butterscotch latte (whip cream, please) at Big City.

And then, on Friday night, as I was crocheting and listening to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (narrated stunningly by Claire Danes), I ran out of yarn.

I finished off. I wove in the two ends. I soaked it. I blocked it.

And like that, I finished a thing.

img_1042
My first crocheted handspun!

Instead of “virus,” I’ll call it “catching on” or something. It’s similar in meaning, but far less menacing. It implies getting back in the groove, which I did.

This yarn helped me catch onto making something with my handspun.

I caught on to crochet a little bit more.

Carrying my project with me and happily yarning whenever and wherever caught on.

And I’m here writing. I have ideas. That’s something worth catching onto.

Kissing frogs.

Last November, I finally finished spinning my four-ounce bag of fiber from Unplanned Peacock in the colorway Frog Prince.


I can’t remember if it is 100% Merino or if there’s some nylon in there, making it socky. In a completely uncharacteristic move, I’ve lost the tag. And I’m not enough of a connoisseur to tell a fiber’s contents by its feel. 

Anyway.

I loved spinning the singles—pale to vibrant greens with tinges of mauve scattered here and there. Just gorgeous.

And then came the plying decision. To two-ply or chain ply?

(No, of course, I don’t start spinning with such a plan in mind! Why on earth would I do that?! Yours truly is a process spinner/knitter/yarner. When people ask me what I am going to make with what I’m spinning, I try not to be a gigantic smartass when I say, “Yarn.”)

For the life of me, I can’t remember what made me do it, but I decided to do a two-ply. Maybe it was because I had two relatively equally weighted bobbins.

(Maybe I did start off the spinning project with the plan of doing a two-ply… How am I supposed to remember these things?)

As I guided the two singles through my fingers and onto the bobbin, I knew almost immediately it wasn’t turning my crank. I mean, I did like the barber-poling. Barber-pole yarn, specifically this colorway of Zauberball Crazy, is what got me into spinning to begin with, but I just didn’t like how the colors were getting muddled.

Despite this, ever onward I plied.


And when one bobbin ran out, of course there was still a bit left on the other one. (The two bobbins weren’t that equal…) So I did as I always do and chain-plied the remainder for scrap—spinning leaders, waste weft, provisional cast-ons, etc.

I have a little collection of these leftovers stuffed in the front pocket of my spinning wheel bag.


And as soon as I began looping this froggy yarn onto itself to create a continuous color-change three-ply, I knew it.

This is what I should have done.


In general, I love the rounder smoothness of a three-ply. In this tiny ball of yarn, I love the solid gradations of color. See that little pop of pink peeking through in the ball? In the two-ply, it got diluted.

I have just over five hundred yards of the two-ply stuff—and just this tiny little ball of what I really wanted but didn’t know it.


I’m learning what I like. And this wasn’t exactly it.

I niddy-noddied the yarn off the wheel and neglected it for two months. I didn’t wash it. I didn’t wind it. I didn’t even take it out my bag.

But I did solemnly swear that I would chain-ply my next yarn, a lovely braid of Polwarth from Sheepish Creations dyed to soft springy hues of leaf, peach, and apricot.


And I did.

And as you might have guessed, I’ve made peace with the Frog Prince.

To be continued…