11 of 51 Yarns: Semi-Worsted Targhee

This post is part of a spin-along through 51 Yarns by Jacey Boggs Faulkner, in the Wool n’ Spinning community. For other posts in this series, check here.

This spin and the previous three have been a sort of mini-series exploring different spectrums: that of worsted to woolen prep, worsted to woolen spinning, of blending white and black with a set of bright colors, and of very blended to less blending of colors. Far too much to explore in just over 4 oz of wool, to be sure, but I like to make the most of what I’ve got.

So far I’ve done: very woolen, very blended with white; very worsted, very blended with black; semi-woolen, semi blended with white. I bet you can guess this last one: semi-worsted, in prep and draft, and semi blended with black.

The job of choosing a semi-worsted prep that would also allow me a semi-worsted draft took a bit of a think. A recommended semi-worsted draft is over the fold, but I couldn’t think of a way to do that with a bit of blending – at least not in a way that wouldn’t also end with the tearing out of all my hair. I decided eventually on making cigars.

Fiber cigars are a new thing to me. The idea is you card normally, but instead of rolling up the card to make a rolag, you roll across the card. Here’s how I did it.

First, I layered color, black, and color, as for the previous spin with white.

I didn’t want much blending, so also echoing the previous spin, I didn’t actually card at all. I just took the fiber off and rolled it sideways.

This is, supposedly, a fiber cigar. Though it reminds me more of a fiber burrito. Fiber sushi? Not sure. Anyway, it didn’t stay that way, as I immediately predrafted it into a nice nest.

These were super cute, definitely semi blended, and I’d sure call them semi worsted. Nothing like the pure true worsted combed top, but the fibers never left their lined-up configuration. Works for me.

The spinning wasn’t a dream. It wasn’t like spinning combed top, but it was like a very easy combo draft. (At least, easy for holding nine colors together.) The color effect was very like a combo draft too.

I used short backward draft again. A) because I was still enamoured of it, B) because the prep wasn’t good enough to do long draw of any kind without a struggle, and C) I just wanted to get it done so I could pack my wheel. Also because of these three factors, it was pretty inconsistent compared to the other two. But you know what? It’s darn pretty.

I sought to emulate the semi-woolen spin in singles size, twist, ply, and knitting. I ended up with a very similar WPI, and a slightly higher grist.

Unlike my human offspring, my swatch children will not be emotionally scarred by my comparing them, so here we go! I find the two black-blended swatches fascinating. The middle swatch above is 1/3 black and very blended on combs; to me the optical blending makes it read as purple. I added less black to the most recent swatch, 1/6. Along with the more minimal blending, it created a completely different look.

Here you can see all four of the most recent swatches, with the pure white and black fibre at each end, and the saturated colors in the middle.

To me, the two swatches nearest to the middle read as very parallel – about equally blended toward white and black, and about equally stripey and speckly. This surprised me because the left has 1/6 black and the right has 1/3 white. I guess that’s the way that works! I was also surprised the cigar one read as about equally blended as the puni-style rolag one. The puni-style rolags were definitely easier to make and spin, so since the result is fairly equivalent, I’ll go with that if I want to replicate that effect.

It was a very satisfying little set of experiments. I had loads of fun with this tiny exploration of tint and shade, and how they are affected by blending and different preps.


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