Sunday, July 17, 2011

Experiments in nerdverse

Ravelry's Nerd War's competition has led me to new heights in geekdom.  Below, I am answering a challenge to use the scientific method on a Raverly sanctioned crafting project, in this case spinning.  I took the extra step of placing my research in my favorite nerdverse, Star Trek.

Proceedings of the Vulcan Academy for the Arts

Maintaining color synchronization during production of two ply yarns from Indie dyed rovings.

Lemon Prairie, F.A.; Janice Rand, M.F.A, Ph.D.;

Conventional wisdom has long taught that the most efficient way of synchronizing colors in multi-colored Indie dyed rovings is to use the Navajo, Chain or Andorian ply methodology (Surak, 2215).  However, this creates a three ply yarn which could create a yarn too thick for projects such as laceweight shawls (T’Kola, 2297).  Experimenters, with a large grant from the VSF (Vulcan Spinners Foundation) will see if it is possible to synchronize a two ply yarn by splitting the roving down the middle.

Material and Methods:
Two four ounce Indie dyed rovings were purchased from separate dyers residing in disparate locations on the Federation Planet Earth and were chosen from existing stock so custom dyeing bias would not arise.  One roving was chosen by the experimenter before she was given this project, a second was chosen by her niece, also prior to initiating the project.
Both rovings were prepared for spinning using the snapping method  (K’Katow, 2301) while watching an episode of Burn Notice, provided by the North American 21st Century Entertainment Archives.
One roving was randomly chosen to be split in two, right down the middle, so that each ball of yarn to be spun would include the same color sequence. Two balls weighing 2.15 ounces apiece were created.   Each ball was spun onto separate bobbins and then plied.
As a control, the second roving was rolled into a single ball for spinning into one single.  This was plied using what is commonly known as the Navajo, Chain or Andorian ply method.
All spinning was done on a circa 2006 Lendrum double treadle spinning wheel.  The ancient “spinning from the clump” method (Prairie, 2011) was used exclusively throughout.

The second roving (Figure A) which was Navajo, Chain or Andorian ply, created a color synchronized yarn as expected and documented in the literature (K’Katow, 2213).  
Figure A: The control yarn was plied using the Navajo/Chain/Andorian ply method.

Despite great care to evenly divide the first roving and spin so each color remained separate and in the original sequence, when plied, the colors only synchronized rarely (Figure B).  As can be seen in the photograph, there is a wide color mixture in the yarn.  Though some areas did synchronize, when subjected to rigorous statistical analysis (see Figure C) it was found that the synchronization was not statistically significant.

Figure B: This two ply painted roving did not show statistically significant color synchronization.

Spinners wishing to create a color synchronized yarn using indie dyed painted roving should use the Navajo/Chain/Andorian plying method. 

The researchers would like to thank the Vulcan Spinning Foundation for providing funding, as well as the Vulcan Academy for the Fine Arts and the Andorian Shuttle and Spindle Foundation for technical assistance, as well as the Klingon Culinary Institute for the lovely catered lunches.  A special note of appreciation is extended to my thesis advisor, Dr. Janice Rand for her expertise and knowledge in the field of art.  Special thanks are extended to Star Fleet Command for their suspension of the Temporal Prime Directive to allow the lead investigator to travel freely using a time machine craft that looks remarkably like a 21st century prepaid cell phone dispenser, the “Tardy,” and where the lead researcher is known to Star Fleet and others in this timeline simply as “The Graduate Student.”

For those of you readers who are not Trekies, Janice Rand was the Yoeman in the original series.  In one episode we see her quarters where we discover she is an artist working on numerous abstract paintings in a 20th century style.  Though she remains in Starfleet and shows up in the transporter room in the first movie, I am further assuming her Starfleet career was her day job as she also pursued her interest in painting and received advanced degrees in the arts and her specialty was 20th century artistic movements (as evidenced by the canvases in her quarters).


  1. This is useful work and makes a significant and timely contribution to its field. The rigor is weakened, however, by lack of inclusion of figure C. Perhaps future submissions can provide the missing documentation.

    ;-) OK, OK, I need to get away from academia . . . I really loved reading this!

  2. Drat! I'm being peer reviewed!

  3. Hehehe, I love it aunt Rose! The article is fantastic ^_^. I really need to write a blog post like this!

    PS- the Yarn is beautiful!!!!!!!