I have to admit that I have an addiction to Pinterest. I could easily spend hours looking over posts, reading articles and then like a hoarding chipmunk, carefully pinning the selections I like best to my own boards. It was on one such foray into the wonderful world of Pinterest that I chanced across the picture before you.
and immediately fell in love. I posted this picture on ravelry, thus starting my quest for knowledge. How do I spin and ply in order to create this look. I was told that the yarn was spiral spun. A technique I had never tried. So I spun a slightly thick and thin single from an art batt I created with a fibery friend (Rhonda, who manages to create the loveliest color combination batts and knit them into beautiful shawls you could immagine. But when I question her as to how she choses what goes into her batts says “Oh just anything, whatever catches my eye” Personnally I’m thinking its some sort of magic!) and a fine single with which to ply it. Here is my first attempt.
I called the batt “Sundown” because the play of colors reminded me of the color progression of a sunset in full glory. To be honest, I thought the yarn was pretty, but certainly not what I was hoping for. Because what I ended up with was a very pretty barberpole yarn. If you hold the yarn you would find it soft and squooshy, but the plys are balanced. Not what I was hoping for. The reason for this had nothing to do with my spinning, and everything to do with my plying. You see, in this first attempt, even though the singles were fine, I didn’t achieve a spiral because I held both plys with the same tension and direction. So they plied evenly and balanced as they always do.
It was back to the drawing board for me. Several people suggested that rather than spinning 2 singles I concentrate on the one primary single and use commercial thread for the 2nd ply. So its off to JoAnns Fabrics I go to buy a spool of shiney thread. Again, I’m spinning some of Rhonda`s batts. This time actually made by her rather than made by me and guided by her. I’m spinning a true Thick and Thin yarn for my next attempt. If I get it right it will be lovely, if not, it will still be lovely but more of an art yarn. This time I’m trying a technique suggested by one of my Ravelry friends. I plan on rewatching the YouTube video at least one more time before I start plying. I’ll provide you with the link so you can watch with me. In the video, the demonstrater tells you to hold the plying thread wrapped over the finger like you would if you were knitting. The single is held beside the thread in the same hand, but held loosely. The idea is that the difference in tensions allows a spiral to form that is secure and won’t slide around the thread (the way it would if you were making beehive art yarn).
So, this is the 2nd trial. Definitely getting closer. Its down to the tension on the held thread. Insufficient tension and the thread wraps the thick and thin single. Hold the thread to tight and you end up with core wrapped yarn. if you look closely you can find both errors. BUT, and its a big one, most of the skein was successfully spiraled. Thre last lession was that if you make the thick parts to thick then it doesnt hold it’s spiral as well or as easily as it might otherwise. Trial 3 is on the on the wheel as we speak.
More to come later, and as always Spin and Dye Happy!