Sunday, October 7, 2012

Spindle spinning a gradient

Recently there have been a couple of threads on Ravelry about how to spin a gradient. I thought I would document how I plan to spin a gradient.

The gradient in question is Corgi Hill Farm's merino/silk in a color called Mangosteen.

I first split the entire braid into two long strips of equal weight.
I have already started spinning this so you can see my spindle on the top and the half that I am spinning next to it. The lower portion is the other half, and you can see that there is about 8" or so of the violet that isn't in the top half. That is what I've already spun.

As my spindle fills, I am going to wind off the single onto plying balls.
My plying balls are styrofoam balls that I use as a core. I wrap the single around them and I will continue to add to the ball as I work through the half of the roving. The ball will have the violet on the inside and the gold on the outside as I am starting to spin with the violet.

After I finish one half, I will spin the second half in the same way. This one will get wound onto a second plying ball. Again, the violet will be on the inside and the gold on the outside.

Once the two singles are spun and wound off onto balls. I will rewind them onto bobbins using my bobbin winding set up or by hand. Each plying ball will go under a flower pot with the single feeding through the hole in the bottom.
 If I rewind the bobbins on my Hansen, I will use this bobbin winding setup. If not, I will rewind them by hand onto the same bobbins or onto another pair of plying balls.
I am sure you are wondering why I will bother to rewind. If you stop and think about it, I started spinning with the violet. I am not consistent enough to get exactly the same length out of both halves. So, if I start with the gold, the two colors are less likely to match because all the accumulated inconsistency in length is there. If I start at the beginning, with the violet, I am starting at exactly the same point in both colors and they are more likely to match through the color changes. Any inconsistencies will result in barber poling which will soften the color transitions.

After I rewind both singles. I will ply them together. If they are on bobbins, they will go on a lazy kate, as in the picture below.

If I use the plying balls, I will just ply by putting them under the pots as I did before. I am a little uncertain as to which approach I will take because it depends on where I am when I get that far. If I am home, it will get rewound onto bobbins. If I am traveling, I will do it via the plying balls.

Lastly, if there is extra length in one single, it will all be in the gold and I can use the handy plying bracelet to complete the 2 ply.

My hope is that I will have a nice 2 ply gradient with smooth color transitions when I am done.

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