The Seventeenth Blendling: Variations In Blue

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.

My next experiment from Deb Menz’s suggestions in color study exercises (Color in Spinning, pp. 48-50), was mixing value. Basically, I wanted to take one hue, and mix it slowly from dark to light, to see what happened.

I mixed three colors for my sample: light teal, dark teal, and blue, mixing from light to dark. This time the gradation shows up very clearly on the bobbin.


Remember my nice little speech yesterday about how I was going to take my gradient experiment and spin the ends together, which would pretty much ruin the gradient effect, but make it more usable with the other blendlings in a bigger project? When I was planning this one, I thought about that, said NAH and split all the strips in half. The above is half the fiber, spun from light to dark; the rest would be spun dark to light, then plied from a center pull ball, which would pretty much match things up.


So as not to repeat the mix-up of the previous blendling, I took my separated nests and wrapped them into one mega-nest in the right order!

You can see the gradient mirror in the center-pull ball: light to dark then back to light.


With the matching colors together, the gradient effect is intensified.


The Nerd Numbers (Blendling #17):

1 single, short strips of light teal, dark teal, and blue in the following proportions:
2 lt teal:1 dk teal
2 lt teal:2 dk teal
1 lt teal:2 dk teal
2 dk teal:1 blue
1 dk teal:2 blue
This sequence was then mirrored for the second half of the fiber.
Spun supported semi-woolen, pulling back across my lap.
Spinning Ratio: 6:1
6-7 treadles per “length” across my lap
Plied from a center pull ball
Plying Ratio: 6:1
8 treadles : ~12″ (measured)
S twist, Z plied
Yardage: 68 yd after finishing
Weight: 1.3 oz
Appx. Grist: 841 YPP
TPI: 4 before finishing, ~4.5 after finishing
WPI: ~13 before finishing, 12 after finishing
Angle of twist: 43 degrees before finishing, 35 degrees after finishing (huh?)


I have to admit, when I took this off the niddy noddy, I was really disappointed, because it had gone so thin. I had tried to spin the same way as the previous skein – semi-woollen and fast and fun as possible – but it was late at night, and I hadn’t been attending to my work as much as I would have in a different state of mind. There’s an important lesson in this: if you want to be consistent in a project, don’t spin when really tired!


That, plus the intense gradient effect, means I probably won’t be able to use this with the others. At least there’s a good bit of it, enough to all by itself become a hat for one of the kids!


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