Navajo ply vs true 3 ply

With two technical skeins to finish I found myself in a bit of a pickle.  The assignment was to spin a 3 ply sock yarn and present a finished 10 yard skein and a 5″x5″ swatch.

I had been given a sample of some Lincoln/CVM cross.  When I washed  the fiber I fell in love with it.  The length of Lincoln with the crimp and softness of CVM.  It was so beautiful.  Knowing that longwool makes for great socks and having also spun up faux cashmere this level I knew just what I was going to do.

I got out my combs and started by combing out the lincolnX then I added the faux cashmere and blended it.  At the end, I had only 2 little birds nests per single and one extra…. I am at the point where I kind of know when I am pushing the fiber requirements…. It was going to be close.  So I spun up the yarn.20170603_065917

I have to tell you this 3 ply is my current personal favorite thing I have spun to date.  I actually can not wait to get my hands on more of that Lincoln X.  Or at least see the shepherdess and tell her how much I LOVE her fiber.

Once the yarn was finished I wound off my 10 yards and then started to knit my swatch.  Once I was finished and blocked it, it was only 4.5 x 4.5.  Crap!  I still had that last little birds nest to spin.  I decided to spin that up and Navajo ply it.  Once I finished that little skein I re knit my sample, only there was a problem.  You can see in this picture20170603_065901.jpg

the distinctive white stripe on the right hand side of the swatch?  That stripe was caused by the Navajo ply.  When combining two different fibers on combs it is common for the shorter staple to draft out first.  While spinning my single I didn’t even notice it.  However, when Navajo plying all of that nylon (the faux cashmere) pooled in one place.

This swatch shows why, especially when blending fibers, doing a traditional 3 ply yarn is far superior to just chain plying a single.  When plying 3 singles together those spots where the nylon may have spun out on their own are minimized by the other plies in the yarn.  It would be highly unlikely for all those places on all 3 plies to line up.

I could pull out the Navajo plied yarn and turn in a smaller sample, but in the end I think I am going to leave it and use it as an example.  I am also going to do a write up for my homework with the explanation.


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