Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The Messy Cop

 I recently had an article come out in Ply magazine!  The editors asked me to post about it on social media using this snapshot of my writing. (click on it to embiggen to read it)  I haven't received my magazine yet in Canada...but people have asked me for more info.

I first heard about it via a reader query on Ravelry, saying she liked the cowl I was wearing in the article!  (uhh, I didn't think I'd sent a photo with a cowl in it.)  Oh, she said, had I designed this lacy teal leaf cowl?  Could she purchase it?  Ummm...this is when I wondered if I'd lost my mind. Was it lack of sleep, the street construction jack hammering noise or something else?  I'd designed a lot of cowls, but teal?  Leafy? Lace?  Huh.

Turns out the photos featured with this article don't match anything I sent in my submission. (This happens to freelancers.) The woman featured isn't me, and not sporting any of the cowls, scarves, or shawls I have designed!  (Note, my designs work well in handspun!)  I use commercial yarns in most my design samples to make substitution easier for those who don't spin, but there is always plenty of info for spinners who want to supply their handspun for the patterns.

A friend noticed that the lady in the article didn't look like me.  (She's older, for one) She sent me some photos so I could see the article.  Here are some photos I took for this article that illustrate the messy cop process if you're curious to learn more...my cops look different from what I saw featured there. (These photos weren't published, I own copyright, so they're mine to use as I like.)
#1. Use scrap paper or a stiff bit of cardboard to wrap around the spindle.  Tuck the end of the leader so it sticks out of the bottom of the spindle, towards your hand, for easy access later on.  Wind solely onto the scrap paper for ease of removal later.  I started with blue so you can see the leader clearly in the next photo.

#2 As the cop progresses, wind on however you'd like, as messy as you want --the end result is a ball-- but make sure you can still see that (blue) leader yarn at the bottom so you know you could do a center pull ball for plying later.  Keep the cop on your scrap paper quill.

 #3.  When the spindle no longer spins consistently in the right direction, it's full and too heavy to work effectively.  Gently pull the (round) ball off the spindle shaft, holding onto those two ends.  The paper/cardboard quill inside should remain intact inside the ball.

#4.  Take your ball and wind the two ends together onto a nostepinde or distaff for ease in plying.  If you do not have this tool, you can use: A smooth stick, a yard stick, a pencil, another spindle shaft...whatever's convenient.  I tend to tuck the nostepinde under one armpit when I ply, so if that's your practice, make sure the stick is long enough for this to be comfortable. Armpit sizes vary!
Note: The blue leader is still visible, you can see where I pulled it out of the center pull ball to begin to wind the two plies together.

#5. To complete the plying, you're again putting on the scrap paper, leader at the bottom, and twisting your two plies in the opposite direction.  There were will be no leftovers as you are spinning from both ends of a single messy cop/ball rather than two separate ones.

#6.  If you're making a 4 ply yarn, you're ready to go with the cop on a piece of scrap paper...you can easily access both ends of the ball to ply again.  If not, slip the 2-ply yarn off the spindle: it's ready to skein up so you can wash and set the twist.

OK, that's the whole story!  You don't have to wind on in any kind of zen-tidy way!  Your yarn making will still work just fine.  I hope this is helpful...do leave a comment if you have questions and I'll try to check back to answer them.
All the best,

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