Plying for Arans

I’m working on spinning for a new sweater for the husbeast. In talking with the Spinner Central Group over at Ravelry, I promised to do a few extra swatches and photos showing the differences and why you need to really think about what will work best so you’re happy with the final garment. Wanna see?
There is a single, a 2 ply, and a 3 ply. Can you tell which is which?

Notice how the cables on the singles are sort of mushy and fade in?
Can you imagine a garment where these would be the best cables?
The subtle purl diamond and the 4 stitch cable are obviously not the best. If you are doing this then you want to use a big cable. A large cable that may be more open like a large diamond would show up better. Cables with intricacy will tend to be mushy.

Here’s the 2 ply.
The cables show up better for sure but they could be better. Actually the purl diamond is where this one fails for me. The 4 stitch cable looks fine in the 2 ply. I wouldn’t want to use this yarn for a something like a gansey that would have a lot of purl details.

Now the 3 ply.
Even with my bad photography, you can see the cables and purls pop.

This is where I stopped but there are 4 ply and cable yarns that can take the pop up another level. Do you notice anything different in the 3 yarns. Singles are fluffier and mushy round, the 2 ply is sort of flat, and the 3 ply is a nice stable round.

My posting this wasn’t to tell you what yarn you had to make, but to show you the difference and why it helps to sample. It’s all about being happy with your final project. So if you’re ready to jump into making the yarn for your first sweater or if you want to do another one and you’re thinking Arans and Cables, think, sample, swatch….You’ll be happier in the long run.

Oh, I almost forgot. Keep your swatches with notes. Make a new tote box or something to keep these in. The next time you do a bunch of yarn, you might find them to be valuable and you’ll have less work later on.

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8 Responses to Plying for Arans

  1. PuppyMomma says:

    You’re right. You’re always right. But of course I’ll never be THAT organized.

  2. Donna says:

    Good idea about keeping the swatches with notes. What a difference that would make in the finished sweater for sure!

  3. Loopykd says:

    This is why you are the bomb! Thanks for the pointers and advice. It is so interesting to see these differences. I just joined a group on Ravelry called Ply by Night where we are all spinning the same fiber and knitting the same project in the end. I am very interested in that as well. Should be fun anyway!

  4. mrslevite says:

    Actually seeing it makes a bigger impression than just reading about it. It’s a fantastic demonstration. Thanks for posting this.

  5. Wendy says:

    Sampling today, finally got home from Christmas trip. I will be making the little card and everything. How much of each attempt should I spin up? How much yarn does it take to knit a decent swatch? I don’t want to use too much of my fiber as it’s a little close to the bone (although more is available).

  6. Erica says:

    Thanks for the show and tell! I’m spinning for my first sweater, and just learning how to spin for a project. It’s especially nice to see swatches.

  7. Sara says:

    I need a device I can click that will allow me to keep all of your tutorial blog posts in my knitting bag for when I have a brain cramp.

  8. peahen says:

    Very wise advice – thank you! I’ve certainly wasted my time before by not taking the time to make swatches. I resolve to be more patient and self-disciplined in 2009!

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