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.
Changing drafting style drastically for a forced worsted style was not natural and was not getting me what I wanted. It would be great for a dense, fat yarn, but as I want to make yarn for a sweater and not a snowmobile hitch, it’s time to change tactics. But let me start with color and come back to spin.
My set of 12 colors had come with one color I did not care for: bright purple. While I have friends who would totally rock this color, it’s just not me. I’m not ever that… happy. So, it’s a nice enough color, but I wanted to calm it down. I did this two different ways in two plies: first, equal parts bright purple, medium teal, and pink (the two mix-ins being the same value as each other); and second, equal parts bright purple and beige.
As I suspected with the First Blendling, the beige is probably made of the pink and teal. This is proven in that these two plies are nearly indistinguishable, except that in the first ply, just teal or pink would try to take over sometimes.
Overall, the blending worked. You can see how much calmer it is than just the purple. The purple is the darkest in value, so is made to look even darker than it is by the contrast. On the color wheel, pink and green are kinda catty-corner to purple, so they moved the whole party towards grey. It’s definitely a color I’d use now, if not for a whole sweater.
As to the spinning: I started changing tactics gently with this sample. I let my hands go back, slightly, to what they wanted to do naturally, as for the first skein. I let the twist into the fiber supply on occasion; I watched my hands. I was still putting lots of twist into the singles (I still thought that was required if I wanted lots of ply twist), though I eased up slightly in my rigidity to measuring the draft zone. I plied a little less to see if that freed things up to bounce a bit, since the singles still seemed quite thick and dense.
The Nerd Numbers (Blendling #6):
ply #1: 1 bright purple, 1 med teal, 1 pink
ply #2: 2 bright purple, 2 beige*
Spun worsted: combination of short backwards draft occasionally with some moments of semi-worsted (right hand pulling back on fiber supply; left hand supporting twist)
Spinning Ratio: 6:1
2 treadles : 2-3″ drafting zone
Plied from two bobbins
Plying Ratio: 6:1
6 treadles : 12″
S twist, Z plied
Yardage: 15 yd before finishing, 13 yd after finishing
Weight: .5 oz
Appx. Grist: 416 YPP
TPI: 4 before finishing, 3.75 after finishing
WPI: 9 before finishing, 8 after finishing
Angle of twist (before finishing): 35 degrees
*For each ply I am weighing a few pencil rovings to make sure they add up to .3 oz. Some of the strips are thinner than others.
The results were less than satisfactory. The WPI was a little closer to the target 9, but the ridiculous grist was actually the same as the previous, thicker yarn. That means I’d actually managed to make the yarn denser. Hm.
Well, when I get a skidoo, it will have the cutest tow cables in town!