Friday, November 28, 2008


I can't tell you how much I don't want to write this post. I seriously considered not writing it, because this is going to be so embarrassing. And a little horrifying. But not talking about something doesn't make it go away, and I always appreciate it when other people admit that their projects don't all go perfectly all the time; sometimes things grow in The Bad Way (anyone out there read The Tick?).

Yesterday was lovely. Lots of cooking, lots of straightening up of the house. I had most of the cooking done and/or in the oven well before our friends were due to arrive, so I sat down to ply my lovely singles (the Sanguine Gryphon singles, which I finished a few days ago). Our friends came, we had a lovely dinner (turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberry chutney, mashed potatoes, roasted butternut squash, stuffed cabbage, salad, pecan pie and pumpkin pie with whipped cream, mmmm), with good conversation and a few glasses of nice wine. After all was eaten and dishes were done and everyone had gone home and/or to bed, Rick and I sat down to watch a movie, and I kept plying. I finished plying, even, and skeined the new yarn up on the niddy-noddy. The four ounces came out to 530 yards. About 16-17 wpi. Definitely laceweight (btw, regardless of the way this story turns out, I am very proud of that fact). I was feeling good, although I was worried about the tendency of the yarn to wind back on itself; my fear was that I hadn't put enough ply twist into it to match the singles twist. But I decided to set the twist and see what happened. That done, I hung the skein to dry, weighted by a towel, and toddled off to get ready for bed.

I was brushing my teeth when it hit me. I looked at Rick and I said, "Oh my god. You aren't going to believe what I did to that yarn." And he said, joking, "What, did you ply it the same way you spun it?" And I said, "Why, yes, I did." He laughed. I said again, "Why, yes, I did." And he stared at me. Because, why yes, I flippin' plied that yarn in the same direction that I spun it.

I'm sick to my stomach. It's ruined. Seriously. And I'm so embarrassed. I mean, how did I miss the fact that it didn't feel right as it was plying? (And it didn't.) Why didn't I trust my gut? Why didn't I stop to think, carefully, about what I was doing?


I'm going to try to run it back through the wheel the other way, slowly, to see if I can either disentangle the two plies, or even, if I'm slow and careful enough about where the twist goes, re-ply it in the other direction, one foot at a time. I'd ask if anyone out there has ever done something like this, but I'm pretty sure that none of you are this foolish and oblivious, so I won't even go there. I have to wait for it to dry before I can try anything with it in any case.

Meanwhile, I'm going to take my family tidepooling with an old and dear friend and her new baby whom I haven't met yet. And I am going to repeat to myself as many times as it takes:
I am thankful for learning experiences.
I am thankful for learning experiences.
I am thankful for learning experiences.


Jane said...

Awww, my heart goes out to you. I can only imagine how frustrating i must be. Hope you are able to rescue something from it. Otherwise.......
You know you won't be doing that again.

Anonymous said...

New babies are marvelous balms to things like this.

Here is, perhaps, a dumb question. What would happen if you took the yarn and treated it like a ply and doubled it and re-plyed it the right way, but now twice as thick? Perhaps this belies my complete spinning naivete.

Wool Enough said...

What an intriguing experience. I think you've discovered a new spinning methodology. And if you don't mind going for thicker yarn and less yardage with this fiber, you can always take what you have and ply two lengths together in the opposite direction. That should give you some gorgeous and uniquely cabled yarn.

And I HAVE done exactly what you did. Except I do all my spinning on a spindle, so the problem was obvious after only a few yards. One advantage of a low tech process I guess.

EGunn said...

Oh no! I haven't done that (yet), but I've made any number of other silly mistakes. I think it's funny that Rick was able to guess what had happened...that's a fiber-aware spouse!

I agree that you should be able to ply it back with itself for a thicker yarn. And, since it is so fine (laceweight!), it should still make a yarn of reasonable weight. If I did that with mine, I'd need to knit it up with broomsticks. =)

Nana Sadie said...

Here's my advice: Go with your gut. (After a good night's sleep)

You know, very well, that I haven't a clue what you did, or how you would have known...I don't spin. But I understand the sinking feeling you had when you realized it.

And "Praise the Lord for learning experiences?" Or...alternatively, thru gritted teeth, "Here comes another G-D Growth Experience."

I'm so sorry.

Anonymous said...

Someone else (sorry, can't remember who it was) just did that, ran it back through and successfully twisted it the right direction, so no reason you shouldn't be able to do likewise. Go for it!.

Marianne said...

Wow. Seriously. I've not done that yet but I have a feeling if I tried my singles would pretty much fall wouldn't they?
Good luck to you on your theory, and it sounds like there's been some good luck in actually doing per Joy's comment.

Willow said...

All is not lost! Remember my second chances post earlier this month? Try the reverse spinning (plying, you know what I mean) and just see what happens. I THINK it will work. And what do you have to lose?

Good Luck~

Anonymous said...

Oy oy oy,,, I hope you will manage to save it!

Alwen said...

Oops. And also "Damn!"

Anonymous said...

How about, if you don't mind having a thicker yarn, plying it again in the opposite direction with one strand of a different yarn? To add to that thought, I have a small cone of a bajillion yards of silk that is so fine you almost have to use a magnifying glass to see; would you like it and would that help? That way when you ply it in the opposite direction something's holding it together.

Bea said...

oh no! I'm wondering the twinsetellen. If you could just half it and then ply the two together? Or try navajo plying what you have? I know it would end up thicker but you now know you can do lace/fingerling. This doesn't have to be lace/fingerling in the final result to know that. Sorry :(

Anonymous said...


Hey! You made lace weight!


It will be alright! Your idea to counter-ply it is exactly the thing to do. It may take two or three trips through the wheel, because you want to proceed slowly and gently.

But it works. Ask me how I know!

Stell said...

you can do that, send it back thru the wheel the other way to remove the twist and if you need send it back again to add more twist the other way - totally, you can do that. And whats better you can put on one of those teeny tiny whorls and increase the twist so it happens quickly. I've sent mine back thru to add a bit more twist or remove a bit, and it works just dandy. Love the dandy word - seems right here, implications of our kiwi 'she'll be right' but a bit more propper.

btw - I'd do that, even now, I can't believe I've not already done it already. I