The Tour de France started Saturday but I started spinning in earnest on Friday, double checking everything I learned last week to be sure I could actually produce something viable with my wheel.
Saturday's work doesn't look viable to me in terms of yarn - there is a lot of thick and thin, all at unpredictable intervals...
... but it has a reasonable amount of twist and it wound onto the bobbin, so it seems I have the basics down.
Sunday, I spun the rest of my learner's fiber (thus launching the worry about what colourway I will make the least of today) and instead of leaving the singles on the bobbin I wound it, as I had the first, with my ball winder.
In theory this was to help with plying later, but in fact I just didn't have the energy to look up again how to attach a leader and had to keep my sole bobbin-with-leader free. Noting those instructions is today's job, or possibly tomorrow's.
Having got this far, I decided to ignore the value of letting the twist rest for a day, and prepared to ply.
In The Intentional Spinner, Judith MacKenzie McCuin suggests not using the lazy kate that comes with my Ashford Joy as it's not set at a great angle for plying, but to use some other version - even if it's just long steel knitting needles run through one side of a box, through the bobbins, and through the other side of the box.
Here is my version:
The diecast John Deer tractor replica is there to keep the box from shifting; it was the heaviest thing I could find that would fit inside, and if it weren't for the yarn occasionally catching on the wheels it would have been a perfect choice.
I can't say I will repeat this plying setup, wheel-catching aside; there was a lot of yarn twisting around the needle business that slowed me down. However, the slowdowns inspired this brilliant tool:
Need to take a break from plying for moment, either to detangle yarn from a needle or to resolve some crisis or other? Just clamp off the twist with a clothespeg.
At this point I made I think my best discovery about the Joy, and one I will pursue with my next full bobbin: if you disengage the cable thingy and turn the wheel sideways, you can quickly and comfortably spin the singles or plied yarn onto your fingers for a neat little ball. Without ever leaving the porch where you've sat happily enjoying the way birdsong blends with a treadled wheel, swoon.
This results in a ball you can stuff into a little sealable plastic bag with a hole poked into the side for the end to feed out of while plying. Ha! Take that, box pierced with steel knitting needles.
They may not make for gauge-consistent knitting, but aren't these pretty?
And now back to pondering what on earth I will spin today (and hoping that is my biggest problem.) Have fun yourself - especially any Americans, wherever you might be, on your country's special day!