The Third Blendling: Skinny Purple

The Blendlings are a series of small skeins of handspun I am making, in order to study color, learn combination drafting, and improve my spinning by studying and adjusting my practices in small amounts. For a fuller project description, click here.

For Blendling the Third, I wanted to go dark. This time I played with what happened when I used a small amount of an analogous color to pull the dark purple in a different direction. First, to a different hue (but similar value):

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Second, to both different hue and value.

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It is one of the ironies of this project, in which color is so important, that most of the pictures of my process are going to be so terribly bad. This is a reality check for where I live: right now we have about six and a half hours of daylight, and nearly all of that is spent with my kids. Our study, where my wheel is imprisoned for its own protection, is not well lit. So bear with me in these awful process photos; I’m trying to at least get some natural light for the glamour shots of the finished yarns!

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It’s a slight consolation that shots of bobbins on a kate are pretty much almost bad.

Above you can see how different the effect of the two ingredients are. The red warms the purple up a bit, but leaves the overall effect very dark. The pink, on the other hand, is such a strong contrast that it makes the purple look darker and almost blue.

Put them together and it’s even more interesting. The overall effect is pretty neat, with the red adding interest and the pink looking almost pebbled. It looks that way since it’s only half of one ply, adding a lot of interest without looking too barber-poley. I’m still getting the hang of combo drafting at this point, so the colors are not evenly distributed through each single, though honestly, I like that mix-up look loads in a yarn. I’ll have to make un-careful combo-drafting a thing I do.

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Spinning notes: I went way thin this time, which was not my intention. This happened because I was more focused on twist. I still used a very controlled pinchy “airlock” drafting technique, but this time only treadled twice for the width of my three fingers (~2″). I didn’t notice how thin I had gone until I plied it up to a light sport weight. I realize at this point I need to do something to change how much fiber is going into the drafting area. Next sample, I’m going to get Bossy.

This is also the point at which I switched directions. My usual is to make Z singles and S ply, who knows why, but I read somewhere on my endless spinning googles that “most” handspinners usually make S singles and Z ply. Now, who cares what “most” people do, but I thought, maybe there’s a reason for it? Also my hope is to one day use this together with a commercial yarn, and I figured they probably do that too. Of course, now that I actually look at the commercial yarn I’ve been thinking about using (Imperial Stock Ranch Columbia 2 Ply) I see I should have stuck to my usual. Oh well. That’s what you call “theoretical research” – in that I theoretically did research, but really just thought about it.

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The Nerd Numbers:

ply #1: 2 dark purple, 1 red
5 TPI, 19 WPI
ply #2: 2 dark purple, 1 pink
7 TPI, 21 WPI*
Spun worsted: both hands moving “airlock” style; left hand pinching off the twist to draft 2″; right hand firmly holding end of drafting zone when twist enters zone; no twist going into fiber supply.
Spinning Ratio: 6:1
2 treadles : 2″ drafting zone
Plied from two bobbins
Plying Ratio: 6:1
8 treadles : 12″
S twist, Z plied

Yardage (before finishing): 46 yds
Weight: .6 oz
TPI: 5.3 before finishing, 5.5 after finishing
WPI: 14 before finishing, 13 after finishing
Angle of twist (before finishing): 35 degrees

*This is before I started updated my WPI measuring techniques. Probably not super-accurate. I didn’t really bother measuring WPI on singles aside from this.

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