Tag Archive: making money

Mischievous Old Lady

Why, hello there! It’s so lovely to be back. And look, I have a finished yarn to show you! Here is the first skein of Topsy-Turvy, as dyed by KnittyandColor, and double-chain-plied by me. I don’t mind telling you, I’m very excited to see how this knits. I think the fabric will be very exciting, and I’m toying with different ideas to really show off the spun-in stripes.


The technique went well, on the whole, except that I had difficulty spinning the black Ashland Bay merino with a worsted draw, so ended up doing a mix of semi-worsted and supported long draw throughout, which led inevitably to a considerably finer single than the coloured blue-faced leicester single. This caused me some problems during plying, but leaving aside the dozen or so breaks in the black single that I had to repair at some cost to my spinning serenity, I’m pretty pleased with how it worked out. And how fun is this yarn? It’s quite fine – about an 8-ply weight, I estimate – and ever so bouncy-squooshy.


And yes, that is a technical term.


Topsy Turvy

I’ve reached the end of the Discworld books.

I know. It’s tragic and sad and now that I’m forcing myself to read things other than Pratchett, I’m hating reading again. But never mind, all will be well.

In one often more recent books, we meet a colourful, winsome character dubbed Topsy Turvy. She’s an older dame, the widow of the manager of the Ankh-Morpork bank, and we intersect her life right after his death. She’s wildly eccentric and yet sharp as a rapier, and she sees through our favourite shyster, Moist von Lipwig, right away.

She cracks me up, because she swings violently between unutterably strange and terrifyingly perspicacious. One minute she’s playing up the soft old lady image, doting on her spoilt lap dog (who has, through the cruel whimsy of the newly late Bank manager, become the present Bank manager), and the next she’s cutting intellectual and ethical swathes through the serried ranks of lawyers and bankers breathily gagging for their mouthful of the corpse that is the Bank.

When a friend of mine gave me the above braid (from Knitty and Color, fantastic shoppe) of my favourite fibre, blue-faced Leicester, for my birthday last year and I saw the name of the colourway, I knew this had to become a Pratchett Project yarn, and I knew I had to pay homage to this lady who had such a keen grasp on the finer points of Life, the Universe, and Everything (if I may cross-contaminate my British literary giants, thank you very much).

Now, clearly, anything but a chain-ply or a single would likely end up with the yellow and the purple lining up with each other at some point or another, and we simply cannot have that; Topsy was eccentric, certainly, but far from chaotic. So I want to ply it against some black merino, and just for the sheer fun of it, I’m going to add a giant challenge in, which will also be a nod to Molly’s favourite technique of plying.

I’m going to chain ply the two singles alternately. By that, I mean I’m going to do a chain of the biffle, holding the merino alongside, and then pull a chain of the merino through, and then go back to the biffle, and so on. That should give me a yarn where I move slowly through the colours and they don’t mix, and where I get stretches of intense saturated purple or yellow alternating with stretches of milder colour toned down by the black, and now and then an almost entirely black section. The striping will be incredible.

I’m going to do a test sample, though. I don’t want to spin the whole lot up only to find that I can’t manage this funky technique, and be forced to settle for a 2-ply yarn ( I don’t like 2-ply yarns for knitting – of you’re curious about why, see my post today on my other blog).