Pattern and designer Plummy Set by Katy H. Carroll
Fiber/preparation About 118 grams (4.2 ounces) of Polwarth and 60% Polwarth/40% silk gradient braids from Allons-Y! Fiber Arts, and a 80% Polwarth/20% silk gradient braid and a 100% Rambouillet tonal braid from Corgi Hill Farm
Wheel system/spindle Singles spun on three Jenkins Finch Spindles, Tru, Rose, and Miss Marbles; yarn plied on a Silly Salmon Designs’ Miss Dippy Lacewood and a Bosworth Red Midi top-whorl spindle
Drafting method Worsted
Singles direction Z-spun
Yarn 3-ply; cowl, 13 wpi, 1,312 ypp; mitts, 18 wpi, 2,414 ypp
Yarn classification/weight Cowl, sportweight; mitts, fingering weight
Total yardage Cowl, 162 yards; mitts, 357 yards
Yardage used Cowl, 160 yards; mitts, 250 yards
Needles Cowl, U.S. size 5 (3.75 mm); mitts, U.S. size 2.5 (3.0 mm)
Gauge Cowl, 20 sts = 3½" in pattern, blocked; mitts, 24 sts = 2½" in pattern, blocked
Finished size Cowl, 15" diameter increasing to 24", 8" deep; mitts, 4½" cuff, 10¼" tip to cuff, to fit 8" hand
A post on Ravelry from a spinner using the Plummy Mitts pattern landed this project in my favorites for a future spin. In 2018, I participated in a challenge in the Jenkins’ Spindle group on Ravelry to use a “recipe” to create a unique yarn from a list of “ingredients.” I decided to spin for the Plummy Cowl and Mitts set. Since the cables in the pattern called for a smooth, round yarn, I chose to make a three-ply. In order to make it a gradient, I chose two braids from my stash and included a fiber swapped with another group member for the third. I picked a tonal Rambouillet in a similar color to give the cuffs good elasticity and extend my yarn for a bit more yardage.
I took 27- to 34-gram portions of fiber from the four braids to make a gradient combo-plied yarn. The braids were split down the length to include the entire gradient, and one single was used for each ply. I rearranged some of the colors to reduce barber-poling. About 25 grams of the Rambouillet was taken from the tonal braid and arranged dark to light for the gradient beginning and then combo-drafted for a few grams to begin each gradient.
My favorite part of this project was unquestionably the spinning. The feel of the soft fiber flowing from my fingers as it formed into yarn and all of the other wonderful tactile experiences, from the soft, luscious Polwarth/silk to the bouncy, rubber-band-like feeling of the Rambouillet fiber as my spindle danced on the other end, all culminated in neatly wound turtles with gradient-color changes—such pleasure!
Designing the yarn was a challenge. I wasn’t sure how the Rambouillet, which I had never spun before, and the Polwarth/silk would work together. Using the Rambouillet for the cuffs of the mitts and the top of the cowl seemed the best choice. The portion of the yarn with more silk content falls at the bottom of the neck and at the end of the fingers where drape is needed, or hopefully not noticeable. My fiber was limited due to the swap, so I did not feel comfortable sampling, but I did do ply-back samples as I spun. Amazingly, I hit my target wraps per inch, and the yarn was gorgeous! Even though I used the same spindles, I was a bit disconcerted to discover that the skeins intended for mitts finished at a light fingering weight, quite a bit thinner than my target. I learned that when one worries about the yardage being enough for the project while spinning, one subconsciously spins thinner!
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