27. April 2010 07:46
I wanted a yarn with a long... looooooonnnnng color gradient....
After being inspired by a shawl made by another spinner... ColorlessBlue... in particular her "Simi" which can be seen on her blog (click here) I thought I would set out to learn to make such yarn. Hers in particular faded gloriously from light pink through to Black, and was spun from a braid of hand dyed fiber.
I had about 4 ounces of Polwarth Roving, handpainted in shades of Dark Navy (almost black) and screaming lime green leftover from another spinning adventure (Caterpillar 3-ply... more here)
After some reading... I set out to try and tear this pile of poofy goodness into 6 inch chunks and try to separate them out by color. I wanted to put all the darkest bits at one end of the table and then gradually cross over to the lightest greens. Some of the chunks were clearly destined for one pile or the other, but the pieces where there was a little of each color were a little harder to predict. I decided to just set those aside and see what they looked like once carded.
Then I set out to card the chunks. I wanted to make a laceweight yarn, hopefully a single, so I wanted my fiber arrangement to be at best "worsted" and the very least "semi-worsted." I took each chunk and gently blended it with my Ashford hand cards (basically by using them more like a hackle for blending, than for carding this already sublime top) and I removed the wool from the cards by rolling it from one side to the other (rather than from top to bottom) so that I ended up with a handful of fiber with all of the little wooly strands running in one direction. Each handful doesn't seem to take very long to card, but there were close to a hundred of them...
You might notice... a lot of the black and dark bits are missing... I got a little overzealous and starting spinning before taking too many photos. I would estimate that maybe 1/3 of the wool was "dark" and the remaining 2/3 was various shades of green, mostly lighter greens. The transition from Black to Green gave lots of Forest Green shades, a bunch of greenish blues, and even some gray shades. I carded and carded, and then I attenuated the little tufts of wool into nests for easy spinning. I spent the better part of 2 hours just carding and attenuating. This fiber is really nice to work with though... so I didn't mind much! I really like the feeling of carding my own fiber, manipulating it, holding it in my hands. And I really like spinning from hand carded fiber, so the process is totally worth it.
I set right out to work... and finished one bobbin of singles! This one started with Grey and Black, and the part you see here is where the Black fades to medium/seafoam green. The next section to spin goes from that green on the left side through to an almost highlighter/neon greenish yellow. Currently, I have skeined the singles, and am ready to soak them and whack them tonight. They are thin, but hopefully will hold together alright once they've been shocked (hot and then cold water) and felted a little (whacked on the banister while wet)
I am really excited to see what this will look like knit up. I am thinking of doing a triangle shaped lace shawl, perhaps something like Aeolian, especially since I have some shiny Hematite Black beads that would look fab with the black section.