Spinning, plying, flying oh my!

This week I flew to Castlegar, BC for a conference presentation in Nelson. While waiting for my flight, I finished spinning the last bit of my Wistmas fibre on my Jenkins Turkish spindle and was contemplating plying while on the plane. I had another similar sized turtle spun up and waiting for its mate.

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It’s a one-hour flight from Vancouver to Castlegar so I knew it was a perfect escape to wind the double-stranded ball from the turtle spun a week or so ago and the newly spun one. What’s the “key word” that could have/should have set off alarm bells for me?

Newly spun.

It was just the last 2 grams or so I swear, but man-oh-man, it made my winding experience hell.

Fortunately I was sitting all by myself so I didn’t get the chance to enjoy the experience with anyone else. I had a small felted ball at the ready, took the beginning strand (the one that we push into the arms with the shaft) from each turtle and started casually and happily winding a two-stranded ball. It went well for a good while. I listened to music. I looked out the window at the snow covered mountain ranges. I thought about what I wanted to do with this lovely yarn once it was made. I wound and wound. The ball got larger and larger. During that time I thought I may even have time to ply the yarn during the flight. It was at this high point of optimism and over confidence that things started to go wrong. Seriously wrong.

Singles from the newly spun turtle started coming out in small tangles. Clumps of them at a time. I was able to manage them at first by creating a tensioning sytem by wrapping the singles around my leg.  It worked for a short while. I can’t even begin to describe how I got most of it done.  It wasn’t a pretty sight. I had a two-stranded evenly wound ball in my right hand, and in my left hand and wrapped around my leg to hold it in place I was trying to untangle a twisted mess of singles.  And because I was fully ensconced  (well maybe not securely or snugly – I was in deep) with both hands full of the yarn, I couldn’t take photos.

When the flight attendant came along to offer snacks and beverage, at one point of this horribly frustrating activity adventure, I hid my mess for fear she would consider it a safety issue and confiscate it.  I told her I didn’t need anything. Please note: I gave up the Air Canada pretzels and free Ginger Ale for art!

I was born in the Year of the Ox. I am persistent and determined (my good qualities). Or some family members will say stubborn. No matter, I got through it. For the sake of sanity I abandoned the last several yards of one of the singles. I just couldn’t do it.

Lessons learned:

  1. If I can I will let my singles sit.
  2. If my singles yarn is particularly fuzzy (because I didn’t smooth out the yarn as I spun it), I will be prepared for it to stick. In that case, it especially needs to have the twist settled before plying – or doing any of the prep for plying like making a double-stranded ball.
  3. If you are trying to make yarn in a place that doesn’t understand yarn making, like on a plane, don’t expect to have special compensation. [“We are starting our descent, you will need to put that away and get yourself more . . . . .organized.” — poor, sweet woman, she couldn’t quite describe what needed happen to make it right.] Rest assured, I complied.

So the long and short of it is: air travel gives us a great amount of time for spinning and knitting. However, we need to carefully consider the scope of our projects so we can make the best use of this time, escape from the boredom of waiting and maximize the potential for relaxation.

That last phrase makes me laugh!

It wasn’t a total disaster. But I did lose several yards of yarn that I may very well may need for this special skein.

I have a large double-stranded ball that will be plied this weekend. NOT ON A PLANE . But at the Bradner Flower Show.

Hope to see you there.

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