Nep Clouds 4

spun nep clouds

The final plied woolen spun skein, washed & dried, and my nep cloud experiment is finished !

The neps were so subtle and very difficult to get to show on the camera, so I had to intensify the color saturation of the photo just so that you could see them, the blue and green neps. The whole skein looks rather seafoam color when hanging out on the line.

This time of year the Black Oak leaves are budding out a soft fuzzy beautiful crimson velvet!

The landscape by the way, is healing slowly from the wildfire. We’ve had to cut down so many dead & dying old Black Oaks around the house, and since I was outside photographing yarn drying on the clothes line, I want to show you how the young shoots are vigorously growing from their parent trees, from root systems perhaps a hundred years old. I have been shaping the new growth, and now the tallest of these young oak trees is almost 10 feet tall. I’m so proud of these young darlings!

I was thinking of trying another variation of the technique I posted in my first Nep Clouds Recipe on my new hand-carders, but I don’t think I can really improve it, for it seems to do best I think , to achieve the affect of the traditional woollen spun rustic tweed, so drawing off the rolags from the blending board work very nicely ( I have made some more notes in the original Nep Clouds Recipe for those who don’t own hand-carders ). Alternatively one could spin from the batt, worsted technique. Anyway, this method suits me just fine, and I will look forward to blending up some more neppy colorways just as I did this skein, and that about wraps up this nep clouds experiment!

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Nep Clouds 2

jenjoycedesign© nep-rolags

Nep clouds from last post have been layered on the blending board with more wool, then rolled off into lovely speckled neppy rolags! You can barely see the imbedded blue and green neps in the white cormo wool, but I know when I begin to spin they are going to pop! 

jenjoycedesign© nep-rolags3

Next is the spinning, but first, what I did . . .

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Techy Stuff . . .

I layered twice, actually with a different wool (undyed white Cormo) layered in-between nep clouds (see last post for how I made nep clouds ), wanting to be sure the neps were well homogenized. It would have been a good idea to use a light grey , to show the blending steps separate from the nep clouds. Next time! 

  • Layered first wool, then blue nep cloud, then wool, then green nep cloud, then wool — taking opportunity to evenly disperse with my hands, clumps of neps, and then l lifted batt off of board.
  • Layered handfuls of the batt again, to get all nice and well blended.
  • Drew rolags off with large knitting needles in a slightly tensioned  ” combing ” motion. 
  • Rolags ready to spin!  (click the 1st image below to go to slideshow) 
  • See Blending For Tweed Simplified for my basic blending board slideshow how-to.

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Nep Clouds

jenjoycedesign© nep cloud premix

Hey look, nep clouds !  These are premixes from my new hand carders, and will be blended in with a main fiber on blending board next.  They can also be spun ” in cloud ” , made into rolags from the hand carders, or can get layered on the blending board to build up a more complex visual texture. I will try a few methods to see what gives the most pleasing results (for me).  For ages I have been thinking about how to go about spinning tweed yarn with colorful neps,  and how to achieve the affect I want using the yarns I have in my stash.  I am rather fixated on designing a yarn which has the characteristic flecks of color that pop in the final spinning, as in the traditional rustic spun from Ireland and British Isles. Anyway, this is a part 1 of a several neppy posts, and as is customary in my Tweed Chronicles.  Here’s the techy stuff .  .  . 

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Techy Stuff . . .

  • Decide the background color for your yarn that you want the tweedy neps to be imbedded in (shown in white Rambouillet) and brush lightly on to each carder, to encase the nepps so they don’t fly all over the place.
  • Choose yarn colors you want nepps to be (shown green in Cascade Ecological Wool, and light blue Alafosslopi). Take considerable thought to how these colors will not only work together, but how the nep premix will work with the main fiber, which may be further layered more heavily on the blending board, before making rolags or batts. 
  • For my first experiment I cut little bits of yarn, at least 1/4″ – 1/2″ pieces, on to the fiber loaded bottom carder, my only thought at this point about how long to cut, is I think the snippets have to be long enough to get pulled into twist or they’ll just fly off, and you’ll have shedding bits of color everywhere.   It doesn’t take much to make a statement, and not wanting to over-do the neps, go lightly first trial, I just added a sprinkle– one could certainly go heavily in this step for a very flecked appearance — remember, when plied, the nep color flecks will double in number.  
  • Card, lift, repeat, until the yarn pieces have broken down and blended a little into the fiber and become a little frayed and “fuzzy”. Neps that are not pulled through the teeth in the carders will likely fly off when spinning having no loose fibers to help the neps stick,  so make sure the clouds are carded well & fully, and that all the little cut pieces are at least a little pulled apart a little.
  • I have made a separate cloud for each color, only two, but I should think as many colors together per cloud will be my next experiment. Here’s a little how-to slideshow of what I did ( click 1st image in mosaic below to see steps. )  See next step Nep Clouds 2, where I make a nep batt on the blending board.
  • Alternatively, if one does not own hand carders, one could ‘fray the yarn’ by combing with an eyebrow or mustache comb, or pet brush, then snip on to the blending board in between the layers. 
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