It sure is a good thing I decided to set an attainable goal for the Tour de Fleece. There's not much time left, and I'll be in New Hampshire all next week without my spinning wheel. I suppose I could try to do this on a drop spindle, but that idea is not holding a lot of appeal right now. Anyway, it was supposed to be fun, not yet another mission impossible like everything else I set for myself to do.
So after most of a week of not even looking at the spinning wheel, I decided to spend a little time this morning trying to get the hang of the Navajo plying technique. When I watched other people learn to do it, it seemed completely incomprehensible, but I got the instructions from "Plying Chained Singles," part of Spin Off's spinning basics series. They seemed a bit baffling at first, but my brain has had a few days to process them since then, and when I sat down and followed them with yarn in my hands, it worked.
The instructions wisely suggested trying it on some crap yarn first, so I got out the horrible yarn I spun a few months ago at Concerts by the River in Decatur. This yarn is so utterly lacking in structural integrity, there's no way I would have risked making anything out of it, so I figured maybe if I plied it again a few more times I'd get something useful, or if not, at least it would have served the purpose of facilitating my learning this technique.
Actually, learning on singles might have been easier. This yarn was already a two-ply with some fat places, so tripling it made it really fat. It didn't always want to wind on the bobbin, resulting in zinga zinga mega excess twist (aside from the fact that I was adding twist to yarn that was already fairly balanced anyway). I had to keep getting farther and farther away from the wheel and letting the twist travel along the yarn, and then try really hard to get it to wind on the bobbin so I wouldn't have to go even farther!
Other than that, though, I picked it up pretty quickly. I'd be willing to try it on yarn I cared about at this point.
It did make an interesting texture. Not sure whether this is actually how it's supposed to be, or it's because of some screwed-up-ness about the yarn or how I did it, but it's kind of cool looking.
On the bobbin, it actually looks like it might be usable yarn.
That's all lies, though. Here it is in a "skein."
Yeah, don't think I'll be knitting with that any time soon.