Tweed Chronicles: Quick Mix

I wanted to try spinning my first ever sock yarn, so I looked in my basket of gifted fiber, and chose some lovely hand-dyed superwash Blue-faced Leicester fiber in beautiful Autumn tones. I wanted to spin this fiber without the barber-pole affect that one often gets when spinning straight from the dyed roving, but a softer and slightly more homogenized result. So you know what that means, I have an excuse to pull out my blending board and do some carding!

It is much easier to do a quick mix from a dyed braid, than to haul out all my separately dyed colors, and although it is a little less controlled, offers a bit of an element of surprise, and is really just fun, as the colors are all there in the braid. But one must choose the braid wisely, for each time I card the fiber from the braid out on to the teeth of the blending board, the colors fuse more, sometimes dramatically. Sometimes very quickly can depart from vibrant splashes of color into a muddied neutral appearance of one shade, especially if there are any complimentary colors in the braid. Also the colors will blend even more after plying the singles. So this time I am only going to fill up the teeth on the board just once, and draw off the rolags to spin. And here is what I did …

(click 1st image to go to slideshow)

♣     ♣     ♣

Techy stuff …

  • My extra long blending board holds a lot of fiber, but to play it safe, I made 4 batts approx. the same. I have 100 grams of fiber, and I want to get four 25 gram batts, drawing off 3 fluffy rolags each to spin.
  • First I divided the braid length-wize into half, then each half into half, so I can get 4 lengths in the same dyed sequence.
  • When layering on the board, I started all four batts with the same end, and layer up in the same way, basically repeating every motion four times.
  • Then I drew off the rolags.
  • See Blending For Tweed Simplified for my basic blending board slideshow how-to.

Watch this space for my plied finished yarn and sock project, which I am guessing will end up a rather muted colorway, close to a shade of terra cotta. See all posts in Tweed Chronicles

What I would do differently next time:

Given that one 100g braid could be done in two batts on my extra long blending board (24″ x 12″) which can hold comfortably 50 grams of fiber I would have not bothered to split the the braid into four lengths, but only two, and fill the teeth closer to capacity twice, drawing off more rolags each time. This would have had the same affect but much faster, and when I think of the whole theme of this post ” the Quick Mix” it makes more sense. However, with a conventional smaller blending board 12″ x 12″ to 18″ , four times would probably be better, as I’ve demonstrated above.

Edit in: See spun and plied yarn in Quick Mix Spun

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