It's done! My first project on the Kuchulu is finished and off all spindles. I wound a plying ball on Tuesday afternoon. This is two strands held together, wrapped into one ball. I used a horse chestnut for a core, because I couldn't find the little felt ball I made for this express purpose. I suspect it has become a cat toy.
So the singles were wound together, remaining nicely under control, and the Kuchulu passed off her singles to the maple Spindlewood for plying.
The Kuchulu then snuggled back into her case for a well-earned rest. Didn't I mention before that this spindle fits in an Altoids tin with room to spare? It makes a perfect nest for when the spindle in not in use, since it is hard-sided. The delicacy of the shaft makes me nervous about having it in my spindling kit protected with just by the cloth bag it came with. Now to find a tin that will fit the spindle when it's assembled!
Then the Spindlewood took over. I've never used a plying ball for yarn this fine before, and I am now a total convert. Singles under tension can't go out of control, and the 45 minutes or so spent winding the ball were more than made up for in the ease of plying. Last time I plied on a spindle, I went straight off the bobbins, and it was a royal pain in the rear. The strands twisted around each other, the bobbins backspun, the singles kinked, I didn't have enough hands to wrangle everything, and it was an all-around miserable experience. With this, though, it was effortless and so enjoyable.
I plied this much and had to restrain myself from doing the rest, so that I would be able to work on it that evening at our weekly knitting and spinning night. I just wanted to keep plying!
But I resisted, and finished it off at Anne's last night. I put the plying ball in my little spindle bag that rests in the crook of my elbow (seen here, from Sock Summit 2009), and it just unrolled happily and calmly as I pulled the doubled singles off. It was lovely.
It took about 2 hours to do the plying, and I ended up with 410 yards of beautiful purple fine laceweight from my 30 gram AbbyBatt.
This project was smooth and enjoyable from start to finish. I loved every step of it. I'm sad that the spinning is done... but the yarn? Love. I can't wait to knit something with it.