Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Navajo Plying and Tank Tops

Hot enough for you all out there yet now that it's officially summer?

"Oh God - air conditioning, please!!!"

We're supposed to flirt with 100 degrees tomorrow and Thursday here. Still, it's nothing to complain about compared to where my daughter is - she told me it hit 110 over the weekend in her area. From what I've seen it looks like she'll be getting a reprieve soon though if not already.

But enough about the weather - this Kneedle Junkie wants to talk about her addiction!

I recently decided to learn how to Navajo ply, in which you triple-ply from a single strand of spun yarn. The Joy of Handspinning site has a mini-video and a page dedicated to this technique but I needed more, and frankly I needed a "Navajo Plying for Dummies" type of lesson if I was going to get it.

Enter rexenne's most excellent YouTube video, How to Navajo Ply: Demystified and Unraveled. To say that she is a genius in being able to teach something that otherwise looks incredibly complicated is an understatement. She not only explains how to do it but adds a couple of tips for making it easier, AND - bless her heart - slows parts of the video way, way down so you can actually see how it works. Throw in her upbeat personality and some fun background music, and you've got yourself an awesome tutorial.

After watching the video I tried my hand at Navajo plying on some old baby yarn... and did better than I thought for a first try. So, I took the yarn I finished spinning from the roving I got at Stick and Stone back in April and did it "for reals."

Here's my end result:

I have to say for only my second effort I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Still haven't decided what I will do with it yet, especially as it's only about 8 ounces of yarn. I may wait until I've spun or bought something that coordinates with the color and then see what it inspires me to do.

In the meantime, I've been making tank tops. Maran Illustrated has its knitting and crocheting book for free online, which contains a pattern for a summer tank top. I used Lion's now-discontinued Magic Stripes yarn in Denim Stripe to make one for myself - I made it to wear out to dinner for my anniversary this weekend, and it'll be a fun top for the 4th of July:

I found the Magic Stripes yarn at Big Lots a few months ago. Like the Fettuccini yarn they had it at an insane discount, $1.50 per ball. They no longer have it that I can tell, I suspect they were just helping get rid of the last of it (it looks like Lion Brand's replaced it with something else since). I have, however, seen some people selling it on eBay here and there. I plan to use what I have left to make my son a sweater.

I am also making a tank for my daughter as one of her birthday gifts. I found a really nice pattern on Knitty called the W tank and I've already finished one side - I'm using some of what I have left of my Lion Brand Homespun in Adirondack and it's coming out nicely:

I am running into one snag though. I'm so low in my stash of this yarn that I've got mismatched dye lots - they don't even look like the same yarn when you put two skeins side by side. That's what I get for not listening to my ex-mother-in-law about how a project can get ruined if you don't get enough of the same dye lot. I may have to fudge it a bit to get the other side to at least look halfway the same.

Aside from that, I'm finding that knitting this pattern is just a lot of fun. It's quick and it's actually pretty easy once you get the hang of it. I may end up making one for me and there's at least one other person I can think of who would look good in this. Probably will use another yarn though so I can make sure everything matches!

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