Since I started spinning sock yarns, way back two years ago when I had my first really successful, really fast sock spin, I started saving pieces of each braid. I would unbraid, strip off about 1 oz, and set it aside with a label. I did this because 4 oz of fiber made frankly too much yarn for a pair of socks, and I am very interested in combo spinning. At the end of March, I finally made my first combo spin.
Here are the three fibers: BFL Superwash in “Phoenix Rising” from Sweet Georgia, Merino/silk in “Hemlock” from Hobbledehoy, and BFL Superwash in “Geode” from Sunshine Yarns.
None of these colorways are really analogous, though they’re on the subtle side for sure. They don’t have much in common except for darker sections, and I knew that orange would really stand out. Would it look brown? Blue? I don’t know! The surprise is a big part of the fun with combo spinning!
My thought was to spin for two socks: One yarn combo drafted, and one combo plied. The combo-plied yarn is pretty easy: spin the three colorways to three bobbins and ply them together. The combo draft is more difficult: hold a strip of each at the same time, and put all three colors into the same single, then ply those three singles together.
The combo ply ended up looking quite dark and jewed. Much to my surprise, the overall read is purple-ish! But it makes sense, with those red/orange and blue/green tones dominating and fighting each other. In the close-up below, you can see how each ply has a distinct color.
Here’s the combo draft.
In this yarn, I was expecting a more marled look in the singles, but they still look dominated by one color. But that color definitely reads as lighter and more grey. Still purple, but much lighter!
Swirl the two skeins together, and they could be the same colorway. If I were to alternate between the two skeins in a project, for example, they would function like two dyelots of the same colorway; you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
Side by side though, you can see the differences more clearly.
Isn’t it interesting how much lighter in value the combo draft looks? The blending of colors is on such a small scale that you can’t tell in the singles that I used a different spinning technique. But the blending turned everything more grey, which somehow robbed the dark values of some of their influence. Whereas the combo-plied yarn sees the darker hues dominating, with the light coming through in pops.
Another big tell-tale will be how much these stripe in the knitting. The lengths of color repeats were pretty much the same in both fibers, so the rate of color shifting should be similar. But will the subtlety of the combo-draft make striping less evident in the combo-draft? We shall see!
I love the complexity of combo-spun yarns. I look forward to knitting these up, and making more of these in future!