For the next sock + color study, I give you yet another pair of sock yarns, spun from the Hill Radnor of our Wool n’ Spinning Breed and Color Study. I spun these yarns exactly like the blue pair, because I wanted a pretty precise comparison of how the colors worked differently when mixed in these two different ways.
First, about the colorway. I believe this was a new colorway developed by Katrina for this study. It’s pretty special in that it manages to focus in on the red portion of the color wheel, and incorporate a variety of values, without ever straying into pink. If you take red and just tint it, adding white, you get pink, as demonstrated in this ombre cake I made a couple months ago.
On the bobbin below, you can see the five distinct colors that were put on this braid. On the far left and far right, you can see the reddest of the hues, a sort of scarlet that looks cooler than the rest of the colors. In the center are the other four, which look to me all like shades of terra cotta. From a darker shade that looks almost brown, to a nice medium salmon color, to the two almost flesh-tones in the middle, these are all in the orange-red slice of the color wheel.
When you mix them all together, it might read as more red or more orange, depending on the lighting. To my naked eye the braid has always looked more red, but now that I see images on a screen, they look more orange. Looking back at my skeins now, the orange stands out much more to me.
It’s funny how our eyes can get confused on these things. My senior year of college, three friends and I decided to rent our first commercial apartment, and we wanted to paint the living room a shade of light red, but we didn’t want pink. We agonized over paint chips until we settled on one that looked right. But when we started sponging it on, we realized we had picked ORANGE. Like, very bright orange. The name of the color, “Tangerine Dream,” hadn’t tipped us off. But somehow, whether it was the lighting when we were looking at paint chips, or just trying to avoid pink and convincing ourselves it was red, we had picked orange without realizing it. We owned that color though, and had lots of fun in that apartment. And primed the heck out of it before we moved out.
As I mentioned, I spun these pretty much identically to the blue-green colorway. I broke the braid in half in the middle. For the chain ply, I split one half four times, spun each strip in the same direction, and plied off one bobbin.
The one change is that I went to a larger whorl when plying than I usually do. As I learned on the blue yarn, my hands just don’t move quite as quickly when I’m chain plying, or don’t take quite as long of a length of yarn per treadle, despite my counting. So I went up to the 15:1 instead of 20:1. This paid off in a more gentle twist angle which is just the tiniest bit looser than the fractal.
For the fractal, I took the other half of the braid and split it into three equal strips. One I spun as-is, one I split in half (sixths) and one I split into four (twelfths). I spun each to separate bobbins, then did a traditional 3-ply.
I am satisfied that I created two nearly identical yarns apart from the color! They had the exact same number of turns on the niddy noddy, and one weighed a couple grams more than the other. They have comparable grist, around 2,150 YPP. The chain plied yarn is a little thinner, probably, but it’s also a little less consistent, so it’s hard to tell for sure.
When comparing the blue-green colorway to the red-orange colorway, the first comparison point that jumps out to me is value. I know I’m a broken record on this point! I don’t have to put this picture in black and white to show you that the lightest blue and the darkest blue are both lighter and darker than their counterparts in the red skein. In the fractals, this should make the final fabric more dotty in the blue colorway, while the red will look more like gently shifting stripes.
A chain ply is a chain ply, so the colors are preserved very cleanly in both colorways. The stripes will be more pronounced in the blue colorway, but how much? In a way, the more extreme value differences in the blue help the colorway to compete with the red-orange, which although more subtle, is just LOUDER… because it’s red-orange. A more salient point of comparison between these two particular skeins is that they are identical in fiber, prep, and spinning, but the blue is significantly more tightly plied. I am very interested to see which of these last longer as socks.
Believe it or not, this is not the end of this Breed and Color journey for me. One more pair of sock yarns will yet appear. These were the biggies, though, and it feels awfully good to see these four side-by-side. Give me a hot minute to cast them on; I can’t wait to make them into socks!