Finally a few hours to play with texture and color!
I finally got into spreading color all over those metal carding teeth…
Just look at these colors drawn into delicious fiber sausages to feed to my spinning wheel…
Blending boards are an excellent tool to put color in the fiber mix; just little hint of color, or dramatic splashes of color! On the blending board colors can be laid out in stripes along the board then rolled off of the board into a rolag, and then the rolag can be spun from the end and each color will come out of the rolag the same as it was layered on the board, one at a time with some blending between color changes to create a nice transition from one color to the other.
A sort of multiple fiber ‘lasagna’ can be created on a blending board by making very thin layers of different fibers, or thick layers, then repeating the layers until the board’s teeth are full. You can peel off as a batt, pull through a small hole to make roving, or as I like best, to draw out with knitting needles to make into rolags. Because the fibers aren’t mixed, but only layered, a spinner gets to enjoy the little color & texture surprises as they appear. I have worked out a sort of general recipe I’m calling Fiber Recipe 1:
1. First, a main fiber, or fiber blend, of longer staple, for it will be the background color that is holding it all together. Think of it as the pasta layer of a lasagna. In this blend I have an over-dyed teal roving of Shetland mixed dark & light, mixed with the white roving of unknown origin, and I hand mix it together to get a general base mix. Then carded it on the board to produce a nice base for the bulk of the rolag. Between each addition I comb the fiber into the carding teeth with a paintbrush comb.
2. Then there is the next layer of fiber & color that I wish to make secondary to the main fiber & color, and which is brushed on maybe half or a quarter as much as the main fiber. For the secondary fiber its good to use the soft luxury roving, and also a good chance to balance the texture, for instance, if my main fiber is on the coarse side (which it is), I might want my secondary fibers to be ultra soft to make the yarn a little nicer overall. I like to think of this layer as the sauce, which is just as essential as the pasta. As this was the case, I added secondary layers of alpaca wool blend (drafted off of some super bulky yarn of alpaca wool mix) and some ultra soft Huacaya white alpaca.
3. These are the colors that I want to peek through, and the use of the color wheel can come in handy. These colors can be tertiary colors to the main or secondary fiber colors, or even opposites, however you want to create a little ‘wow’ in the fiber. A texture difference is nice too, unexpected or even bright colors in different staple lengths. In this blend I layered little splashes of amber & magenta Corriedale roving, then deep blue bamboo (adding a lot of shine with the color), as well as recycled sari silk, and little ‘brushes’ of Shetland 2py yarn that I unplied and broke into pieces to hold together like a paint brush (more on this discovery of mine a little later). I like to think of these accents as the flavorings.
If I plan to make several hundred grams of the rolags, very precise notes are necessary, and weighing each color and addition and noting in which order I apply, and number of layers. Two full layers can be achieved before the teeth are full, but today I put down all of the ‘pasta layer’ first in one thick base, then switched between ‘sauce’ & ‘flavorings’ .
Anyway, here is a visual slideshow for you to see what I just did, beginning with the blue & white cloud of hand mixed fiber…
After I drew off all the rolags, I divided them in equal halves for two bobbins. After both bobbins are plied I predict to have about 50-60g skein when I am finished spinning it up, it was a small batch just for the purpose of making this slideshow.
I almost think I enjoy creating the rolags more than I do the spinning of them, which is an entirely new art for me!