Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Space Cadet

No sooner do I define and bound my world, than I spin off, and abandon it.

Pawing through the stash, I found a bin of worsted singles in the 2,500 to 3,000 ypp range left over from first learning to use DRS.  So, I wondered?

What would happen if I plied them up 10-ply?  The result is a finished 10- yarn in the 250 to 280 ypp range  (0.5 m/g).   On 3.5 mm needles and a (knitting sheath), it knits up at ~ 5 spi by ~ 7 rpi.

Over time, this fabric is warmer than what can be produced from any commercial yarn that I am aware of; and,  is much more durable than any commercial yarn of  similar grist.  The comparable yarn is my 14-ply worsted spun based on 5,600 ypp singles, which is far more durable.

However, at 5 tpi the singles are only half the work to spin as the 10s, and the knitting is only a third the work of 500 ypp 10-ply.  Thus, at this time this yarn/fabric offers much more warmth for less resources and budget than any other yarn/ fabric that I have ever tested.  In terms of more warmth , it far, far out-classes commercial 5-ply, 1,000 ypp  "gansey" yarn.   This is not really a problem, the objects that I have knit from commercial 5-ply "gansey" yarn are well suited to the climate of the greater SF Bay Area.   I need something for expeditions in to colder climates.  At this point, I have to move AA's dismissal of high-ply yarns from a gloss to an error.

Yarns like the MacAusland heavy 3-ply may approach this yarn in initial warmth, but this yarn/fabric far out-classes them for durability, and long-term warmth.  Since spinning is faster than knitting, objects made from this yarn are less expensive than just using MacAusland, and reknitting over a period of years.  Some of my MacAusland sweaters are long past "Used, but good!"

This is a craftsman's compromise between "budget" and "durability" 
made possible by a depth of resources (tools and skills.)

In the the past I have certainly praised commercial 5-ply gansey yarn and MacAusland's for their warmth, however, that was in the galaxy of commercial yarns on the retail market.  Now, we have escaped into the universe of possible yarns.  Here the commercial yarns make a poor showing, most  modern hand spun are pale imitations of the commercial yarns.


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