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Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Splitting Hairs or Three Bags Full

After plying my Shetland (post to come), I was eager to start experimenting with some of the fibres I bought at Wonderwool. I purchased a load (as in, I've totally forgotten the weight!) of Falkland top, which I want to spin to a 4-ply weight to knit the Low Tide cardigan, but I don't feel I'm accomplished enough yet (a hideous understatement) to begin on such a large amount. I bought three 50g balls of combed Merino top from Wingham Woolwork, which I had been hoping to resist as I've been struggling with some Merino I purchased from them last year - my incompetence, not the quality of their products - but the colours were irresistible to me...

I had planned to use them to practise 3-ply, each colour spun separately on three bobbins and then plied together, but having purchased Judith MacKenzie's The Intentional Spinner the other week, and discovered the sock yarn project, I was inspired to be slightly more radical (yes, that is ironic) and work out some kind of colour splitting pattern to make it more interesting.

I began by splitting each length into three, as in the above photo, then splitting both the darkest and lightest tops into eighths, but one "third" at a time, so preparing one bobbin at a time. Hopefully the photos will make more sense than my description.

Then, because I wanted an undulating gradient - light to medium to dark to medium to light - but I had the same amount of each colour, I had to split the medium turquoise into 16ths. 




Progress shots for each row...

... ending up with this...

... which became these...

... three little sandwich bags (!) full of lovely, separated fibre.

It was a really enjoyable exercise. I think the design is exceptionally simple - aside from the initial splitting into thirds due to wanting to 3-ply, the rest of the splitting was based on halving, halving and halving again - what could be simpler? Obviously, to anyone who is actually an experienced spinner, that will sound ridiculous and entirely ameteur, but everyone has to start somewhere. The first bobbin has commenced; I'm hoping to end up with sock yarn weight so I'm trying to keep my singles nice and tight to make allowance for plying, as they'll need to be hardwearing for socks, but I'm not sure the consistency is going to be fabulous. We shall see.

xxx Sam

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