Saturday, September 1, 2012

Making multi-colored yarn out of single colored fiber

We spent a half day making lots of multi-colored yarns from a pile of solid colored rovings. I am showing you some pictures of the samples Maggie showed us along with some of my experimentation.

First and simplest in concept is to hold multiple rovings together and spin them. Judith Mackenzie showed us an example of this in a retreat I attended last year. I will talk some more about that later as I experiment with that technique myself. But Maggie's ideas are simpler. You can hold the rovings together and spin as is - across the colors or you can predraft them together. Predrafting blends them a bit more as the colors thin out. You can also predraft more of one color to get more of it in the mix. These two pictures are of a sample knitted like this.
Another option, to create an ikat effect, is to plan the lengths of the colors in the yarn you want. Maggie had a knitted sample like this but I am showing a woven one. The warp was spun with longer lengths of the white with the other colors having shorter lengths. The weft was spun with very short bits of the other colors so they wouldn't pool on the shorter width of the scarf. One way to get really short bursts of color is to spin them over the fold. Maggie had a mosaic knit piece that looked as if it had been knitted with a Noro-like yarn. What she had done was spin that with solid colors spun from the fold so each color was a very short length in the final yarn. This made each part of the mosaic that showed have a different color in it. Very cool.

This next set of samples was to do a gradual change of color by spinning sections of solid color with transitions planned by holding the two colors together. The advantage of this, if you want to plan it out, is that you can spin longer lengths of color for the body of a sweater and shorter lengths for the sleeves so you can get the same width of the various colors in both sections. Also, for a triangular shawl, you can increase the lengths of each color segment to accommodate the shawl's getting wider from top to bottom.

If you want to spin for socks and want even stripes, you can measure out the length of each color and spin your singles in the same color sequence. The key here is rewinding the bobbins and starting to ply from the beginning so that the colors match up better and slight variations in the length will become color transitions.

Now, similar to Judith's technique, Maggie showed us two samples. One was spun across the web, worsted, with multiple colors. You hold them together and spin across the colors to get lengths of each color in the single. You can also spin woollen long draw by spinning one for a while and then another.
The sample below is a 3 ply spun this way, with more periwinkle than the other colors.
The sample below is a 2-ply spun with 1 color more than the other. It was spun long draw with more periwinkle than the other colors. 3-ply tends to blend the colors more than 2-ply.
Blurry pictures of the entire samples below. Sorry about the quality of the photographs. Maggie was showing them to us, talking about them and then passing them around. So I was listening and observing and photographing as they came around.

 I spun some singles in various ways but then I picked a bunch of colors and drum carded them together. Below you can see a sample skein I made by woollen spinning 3 different colored rovings and plying them together. When I ran out of one, I continued with just a 2-ply. You can see a bit of it where it is just brown and gold.
The drum carding was fun. This blends the colors more and gives you little heathered bits of color as you spin.
One side of the batt.
The other side of the batt.
I then spun a single, woollen long draw, from the batt. I plied that single with my other colored singles and even some worsted that we had been spinning when we were talking about worsted-spun yarn. So there are a lot of colors in this skein. The colors move from one to another with varying lengths based on what I was trying.
This was one of the most fun parts of the class. We played a lot with colors. I have some solid colored roving from Judith's class and I plan to play some more to practice these techniques. I hope this gives you ideas and inspires you to play with some of the fiber you have. You might not like a color by itself and you can spark it up or subdue it by mixing it in various ways with other colors. You could card them together, of course, but you don't need to.

1 comment:

twinsetellen said...

I just picked up a bag of various colored bits of roving for exactly this kind of play. Thanks for the inspiration!