The skein that almost wasn't! I had to fight for this one, let me tell you.
Perhaps you'll recall I mentioned the difficulty of spinning this New Zealand very thin: I was getting some breakage during the ply stage. I was doing Navajo ply which tends to be my default at the moment. I thought more twist would solve the problem and forged ahead spinning a bobbin about 2/3 full. Well, the same problem with breakage reappeared--several times. How disheartening. I was quickly getting discouraged! The thread would break quite predictably at the same location in the Navajo ply-up: on the current loop, right near the last loop as I was pulling the new one through. I had to give up. I set it aside for the rest of the week thinking that after letting go of it somewhat a solution would present itself.
So I ended up deciding to discard Navajo ply for this project and go with regular 3-ply from 3 bobbins. I wouldn't want to spin a whole 3 bobbins full only to find out it was going to be worthless, so a test was in order. To test out my new angle I decided to wind what I had into 3 center-pull balls. Center-pull balls... of singles... very lively, well twisted singles... right. I knew this... We all know how well behaved they can be... and they didn't disappoint. Wouldn't you know I started plying and the centers would pull out in little blobs and get all snarled up. Ugh. Slow going at times.
It hasn't been easy but the skein is now plyed and hanging up to dry after a good soak in Eucalan. After unsnarling the first few tangles there were some pretty smooth patches and it went along well. There were other snarls to come but somehow I was able to get them all unfolded and as they say, all's well that ends well! I very much love the end result.
Here it is all plyed before I gave it a bath:
This is the little tool I made to keep the 3-strands straight during plying. I'm sure there's a name for it and I thought I knew what it was... but at the moment it seems that I don't know what it's called! So I'm simply calling it my 'plying eyes'. I made it from the lid of a coffee can. A novelty paper punch (the same one I use for my yarn tags) created the 3 note shaped holes where the yarns flow through: