The sun finally reappeared yesterday, and Branden found a few minutes to take photos between gardening and other weekend chores. (Note to self: promising pictures soon appears to result in a solid week of rain…)

I think the thing that I like most about this yarn is the variety of color.

It takes on a different shade every time I look at it it.

(Somehow all three of those photos are true to color, even though they look so entirely different.)

I ended up with 1500 yards of dk-weight 3 ply, which is knitting up beautifully on size 6 needles. This sweater won’t be the overnight wonder of its bulky cousin, but it will be a pleasure to knit.

I had some singles left after plying, and 1500 yards seemed like it should be plenty for the sweater, so I decided to do a little experiment and Navajo plied the last 100 or so yards. You can see what a difference the plying method makes.

I’m not usually a fan of marled yarns, so I really preferred the Navajo-plied skein with its long single-color repeats and lack of barber pole.

No experiment is complete without a swatch, though. First, the Navajo-plied:

And then the traditional 3-ply:

As I said, I do like the Navajo skein better, but I really love the way the marled yarn looks when knitted. This photo is a bit washed out, but the actual swatch makes me think of an impressionist painting. The color variation is more subtle, and I think I like it better than the Navajo-plied yarn, though I love the intensity of the solid colors in the Navajo-plied skein. The Navajo-plied yarn is also much less even, because the plying amplifies all the irregularities in my single. Just goes to show that prejudices are not always well-founded, and that you can’t tell what a yarn will do until you knit with it.

This little experiment is the first in my summer project. My grand plan is to dye up small samples of roving and then spin them in different ways to see what kind of variations I can get in the yarn, and then to see how those samples look knit up and possibly woven. I’ve wanted to play with this for quite a while now, and the package that brought the fiber for the new sweater also contained 2 lbs of Corriedale for testing. I’m not sure when I’ll get around to starting the project, but seeing the difference in these two skeins has made me really excited to see what happens when I vary more than just the plying. So many variables! Playing with color!

If I learn as much as I did from this project, it will be time and roving well spent, and I am sure that there will be more surprises along the way.