Blendlings: Conclusions and Reflections

By now I’m sure you are all sick of hearing about my precious Blendlings! If you’ve stuck through all this reading, all these nerdy ramblings and color speculations, thank you. It means a lot for me to write about this learning journey in this little corner of my life. The work/spiritual side of my life is very intense right now, so it’s been therapeutic to balance that with some intense delving into something purely material – but no less beautiful for being so, as God created all this stuff too, and made us his little sub-creators, even as we learn to hold things lightly in the light of eternity. 

Total yardage: 562.8
Total weight: 13.2 oz
Average grist: 681 YPP

When I tagged them and lined them up, the majority of the skeins were in the 8.5 WPI – 10 WPI range, with a couple outliers each at 8 and 11, and one each at 6 and 13. The average, at least, landed at the target 9!

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What I’ve learned about spinning could probably be summed up like this: I’ve learned how much I don’t know about spinning! Especially in the realms of sheep breeds, drafting, and plying. I look forward to the many spins ahead of me as I slowly add to my knowledge. If I can do like my husband did with knitting, and try to learn one new thing with every spin, I’ll have years of learning ahead of me before I’m even a competent beginner! So exciting!

This time, I think my biggest “aha” moments were about:

  • BFL, and how it acts with its 2 crimps per inch. (At least, I think I was working with a mostly-BFL blend.) Those ropey early yarns I made? It’s not that you can’t make singles that twisted, it’s that BFL can’t handle it! It only has like two crimps per inch, so it does much better when more softly spun. I’ve ordered Beth Smith’s Spinners Book of Fleece and am awaiting it patiently to consult when designing future yarns.
  • Balance is… well… optional! And a lot of things come out in the wash. I had no idea I could be so flexible about how much ply twist goes into my yarns. (I basically didn’t understand how singles yarns were possible. I figured they were just voodoo beyond my ken.)
  • I have a long way to in being to emulate my samples in my spinning. Being sufficiently awake helps (another lesson: don’t spin very late at night!), as does preparing my fiber well, but I hope I can improve on this quickly. I mean, I have a long way to go in consistency, too.
  • I have to do something to mitigate the age of my stash and how compacted it is. I think giving my beloved stash a little extra TLC in preparation will make me a lot happier in spinning them.

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About color: I had a ton of fun experimenting with these twelve different colors. I was amazed how much I loved blending different shades and analogous hues, and what a difference they made to a blend that I would have just called “solid” otherwise. I can see now how much fun it would be to dye, blend, and combo draft your own unique colorway, even if it was all the same for a whole sweater.

For color mixing, my biggest takeaway is how important value is. (By “value” I mean how light or dark a color would be if you put it in greyscale, not its monetary worth or its moral worldview!) Deb Menz said something along the lines of how, from a distance, a difference in value stands out more than a difference in hue. In other words, the dots have to be smaller for optical blending to occur with big value differences. Some blends I put together went really sideways because their values were so different. All the places where you see distinct dots below would have looked quite different if carded up, while other blends look like a solid color in the picture because their dots are small enough to blend their internal differences.

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I think my nineteen blendlings do play well together, though it will be a challenge figuring out how to turn the variety of weights and quantities into a design feature. I do have a plan for how to use all (or at least most) of them together, but it’s going to take some serious swatching first. Hopefully their contrast color arrives in the mail soon.

Remember how I said I didn’t think these blendlings posts would continue being daily? Well, not only have I posted every day so far in 2017, but I actually finished these blendlings on Feb. 4th. That’s 13.2 oz in 19 days. I think I’m bit pretty hard, youse guys. 

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