Blog Creative Process Spinning

Stop! No, Go!

Sometimes I am so taken with an idea that I have to drop everything and try it because I’m not going to focus on anything else. It all started when I received a lovely green braid from Napa Valley Fibers (I used Deborah’s kits as an excuse to buy a drum carder…tee hee hee… ). I decided the green braid would look so lovely with these other fibers:

Yes, they are that vibrant!

I had this other brilliant idea that I would document this whole process so a) I could share it with you and b) so I would know what I did so I could replicate what I was doing. I kinda played more than I documented. But that’s ok…you’ll get the idea.

I took roughly one arm’s length of each fiber and split them in half lengthwise. I took the one set of the halvsies and ran them in strips/stripes on the carder twice. Once to fluff, second to lightly blend. I came up with this:

Squish the rainbow (batt)! Drool…

Well, I got really excited about this fluffy! It’s soft, smushy, and a rainbow! I love rainbow yarn! I love the color!

But another part of me was super curious…what if I mixed the different colors together? Blue and pink, blue and green, green and yellow, and yellow and pink? What if I did that and made a self striping yarn with long repeats? Ok. I ran each color set separately through the carder three times. I got this:

Color mixing is an art as well as a science. I wish I had blended equal amounts of each color.

I split these batts in half crosswise (the short way), predrafted ’em and started spinning.

It was a little too stoplight-y for me

That’s when I realized I made something that looked like an Excel stoplight chart. I did not like this. What’s not apparent in this photo is how much of the red color there is.

This was intended to be more of a sampling project (ok, a Tour de Fleece withdrawal project) than a yarn design project, so I tried to figure out what I could do without adding more colors.

I’m not a huge fan of tweedy yarns. They’re ok, but I’m really on a self-striping trip now. That Stoplight was nope, though. I took the other half that I hadn’t spun yet and quartered each color. I didn’t want little color bits and a full quarter of each color seemed to be too much. I misjudged the math, so the color repeats weren’t equal. It was ok. I came up with this compromise:

They look like technicolor snakes. I wonder how much wool is stuck to the carpet…

I had been kicking around the idea of plying this with the dark purple you see on the bottom bobbin because I didn’t know what to do with it. It’s all I have and to ply it on itself was likely to be painful (pull skeins and fine singles can be a pain when they tangle).

Kate’s full!

It wasn’t bad. I kinda liked how it was coming out. And I think it was the first time I’d ever made a non-chain three ply yarn. It was trippy trying to figure out how to hold them together and keep the right tension. It was going along fine until…

I didn’t plan that as well as I thought…oops

I took what was left on the middle bobbin and wound it into a tiny pull skein. That was a little painful, trying to manage the two ends of the same ball and keep the tension on the third strand (my foot came in really hand-y. Har har har…).

What fresh hell did I get myself into?

I had a little of the dark purple left, so I plyed it with the little bit of what I call the “Mud Yarn”. I spun up the leftover bits on the carder and made a yarn only a mother could love.

This is why we don’t blend green and pink together…

It was a few yards at most, and it will probably end up in a weaving or something. It looked pretty good with the purple, amazingly.

I know, you’re probably wondering what does the finished yarn look like? I proudly present to you, the Stoplight yarn! Ta-da!

Green! Green! Green! The finished Stoplight Yarn!

I really, really like it now. I’m glad I saw it through. I now have 245 yards of sock/sport yarn that I’m really not sure what I’m going to do with it. Weave it? Knit it? Crochet it? Sell it? I don’t know. If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them!