Demystifying Navajo Plying

It’s been a hive of activity behind the scenes at Truly Myrtle lately. 

As we approach the end of the year, start to feel the change of seasons and get ready for the long summer holidays I’ve naturally been drawn to thinking about how I’d like next year to unfold. I feel the end of the year and the promise of a new year, a blank slate, much more strongly in the southern hemisphere than I did living on the other side of the world. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the school year ends in December? Maybe it’s because warmer weather and the promise of the great holiday slow-down prompts us to throw open the doors and windows and welcome in new ideas?

Christmas is a special day for a lot of people in New Zealand but we don’t tend to celebrate it in the same way as our Northern hemisphere friends. In comparison, it’s a low-key affair. It’s too light to see twinkly lights properly, too hot to plan a long, hot, convoluted meal. Plus, it’s holiday time – summer holiday time –  and holidays and the coming new year seem to be the first things on everyone’s minds. Well, my mind anyway!

So, I’ve been busy plotting and scheming, thinking and mulling over what 2015 holds for Truly Myrtle. My overwhelming thought is “keep it simple” and it’s the phrase I’ve been bringing myself back to when I start getting all excitable about the things I could do once my “baby” heads off to school in March. 

This coming year will be the first year in almost 13 years that I’ll have no children at home with me during the school day. Of course that’s bittersweet, I’m ready for a change but it’s the end of an amazing era. I invested a lot of time and energy into the last 13 years and I keep telling myself that when it’s over it’ll be ok to take things slowly. In fact, it’s probably the best thing I could do. Breathe out, relax and enjoy the change of pace. 

“Keeping it simple” is starting to mean lots of things. I’m determined to simplify my surroundings and I’m starting by having a clear out. Old recipe books, drink bottles and gadgets that we never use were the first to go. The kids clothes have been sorted and I’ve finally finished washing all the winter woollens so they can be packed away. I‘ve pared back the list of blogs I read so it feels more manageable and I’ve been fiddling about with my blog page a bit so it’s less “busy” (that’s a work in progress – I’m hoping for a total revamp next year). My yarn and fabric stashes are on the list for simplifying next … 

“Simple” also means simplifying my ideas for Truly Myrtle. It’s so tempting to chase every single idea that pops into my head but I have TONS of ideas so that’s a crazy prospect. Lately I’ve found myself dreaming about dyeing and selling yarn, teaching classes, making small runs of things to sell, designing a million and one patterns, starting a fibre festival, owing a yarn shop, having a regular magazine column and writing a book! Sometimes I believe that everything might be possible but I doubt it is all at the same time. Well, my first challenge has been to figure out what is really important to me, do that and do it really well. 

So far, I’m thinking I’d like to focus first on designing knitting patterns, writing a blog that you love to read and starting a podcast to show you a bit more of what I’m up to. I’m trying hard to keep it simple. I’d also like to sew more regularly and I think I’m going to have to schedule it in to make sure it happens. Tash from Sewaholic sews for fun every Friday and I rather like that idea.

It’s been revealing mulling everything over and cathartic starting to make changes. It feels good. A good way to start a new year.

And, I’ve been learning new things too. I’ve demystified Navajo plying and it was hugely exciting. I’ve been wanting to try it for ages but have been quite paralysed with the prospect of complicated hand movements and crazy twisted yarn. Instead, I plodded away with spinning my two braids of beautiful fibre from Hedgehog Fibres into singles. When it finally was finished I had no choice. I’d only one bobbin left and it was time to try this different way of plying.

I found a bunch of tutorials demonstrating Navajo plying on youtube and started. Guess what? It’s not that tricky at all. It’s actually really good fun and quite addictive. I started by plying the odds and ends I had lying around and that’s why my picture above shows brown yarn on the niddy noddy and green on the bobbin. I just kept going until all the odd singles were gone. I’ve started my fancy singles now and I’ll show you when they’re all finished and in pretty skeins. If you want a sneaky peek in the meantime, I’ve posted an in-progress picture on Instagram.

I’m resolved to try hard to stick to the mantra “keep it simple”. In fact, Navajo plying has been a good reminder that “Simple” is right under my nose. It’s just quietly and patiently waiting for me to be ready.

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