The color of moss…

photo from archives: Knitting In Nature

Moss is the most complicated color in nature that I can think of.  Here in the mountains of Northern California, it is dormant through the dry season (most of the year if not half) during which it shrivels and turns an olive green to brown color. When the rains come, it is fat full of water, it glistens with nearly neon golden tips and has every shade of green present, plus a few other colors in there too …

jenjoycedesign©moss-dripping

photo from archives: Fog & Moss

I could never really quite figure out if real moss in nature is a warm or cool green, so I figure I’d just layer and layer and layer the colors until it seemed right,  improvising as I went along …

jenjoycedesign© moss rolags!

which spun up to be as complex of a green in yarn form as I thought it should be …

jenjoycedesign© moss 3

but I do think in hindsight I should have added more dark green, which I didn’t have any of,  so if I did, I would have added in the greens.

Anyway, this is how I did my ” moss “…

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Techy stuff for Moss…

  • Lift color saturated neutral batt, layer alternately with 5g each of grass green, leaf green, and olive green. 
  • Lift batt, layer alternately again with 5g each of grass green and mustard yellow.
  • Lift batt, layer alternately again with 5g each of grass green and mallard teal. (I think next time I will blend in more Mallard teal, perhaps along with the yellow in previous step).
  • Layer again on blending board and draw off rolags.
  • Improvement for next time: Add more mallard (teal) with yellow,  as well as a dark green.
  • Colorway blend:  ” Moss” .
  • See ALL color blending experiments & recipes archived in Tweed Chronicles

 

Geological 3

jenjoycedesignc2a9eroded-waterway

photos in archives: Long Shadows Of January

Last and lightest color in my geological series is the ash layer from volcanic eruptions, and which show up a couple of feet down, seen mostly where there is water erosion in the ditches along side of some of the vineyard roads next door …
jenjoycedesignc2a9eroded-layers-of-ash
It is a stripey design of very light grey  to medium grey, depending whether it is wet or dry,  so “Ash” perfectly names the light grey color in my Geological colorways.

jenjoycedesign© ash rolags

The bulk of the color is silver — natural grey and natural white fleece —  so the range from a warm silver to a cool medium grey is up to the mood, and a thing which invites a lot of personal touch.

jenjoycedesign© rolags 2

In my three geological colors of  dark Shale,  medium Sandstone, and now light Ash, either natural grey or natural brown can be blended with natural white for the rock tones, because the distinguishing difference is dark-to-light variation more than it is color hue.

jenjoycedesign© 004

The other distinguishing feature of geological colors is that I’m using undyed natural colors for the all-over color, with a splash of the color-saturated neutral showing …

jenjoycedesign© 006

…   which by the way,   the  “color saturated neutral” (primary and/or secondary triad mix)  is the unifying element of ALL of my tweedy colorways !

Next time I will use less ratio of the color-saturated neutral, because when one is blending a light wool , like paint, the proportion of pigment actually is very little.  Also next time I will use more white in the mix to make the all-over color a lighter silver (noted below).   But for the sake of documenting my experiment, here’s what I did…

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Techy stuff for Ash…

  • Began with Primary & Secondary Neutral recipe using approx 2.5g each of green, purple, and orange  AND  blue, red, and yellow, (or alternately 5g each of primary or secondary triad colors) blended thoroughly on blending board (see Blending For Tweed Simplified) , lift batt, set aside.
  • Layer 15g natural white with 15g natural grey,  lift batt. (Note: For lighter grey, blend more white, less grey)
  • Layer color-saturated neutral batt with white/grey batt alternately.
  • Lift batt, and for lighter grey layer again with 15g more white.
  • draw off rolags.
  • Colorway blend:  ” Ash” .
  • See ALL color blending experiments & recipes archived in Tweed Chronicles

 

Geological 2

jenjoycedesign© paws at the peak
photo from archives: Paws

In previous geological post I created a woolly colorway of Sandstone.   Second in my geological series of the mountain, and underfoot quite a lot, is shale.   A refresher of a quote from a reliable local vintners’ source, they who take the geology of this appellation very seriously…

Mount Veeder is primarily an island of ancient seabed, pushed up in the mountain’s formation five million years ago.  This is the only Napa Valley appellation that can claim this unique geologic phenomenon. While the rest of Napa Valley was covered in volcanic ash 1 million years ago during the eruption of Mount Saint Helena to the north, Mount Veeder received just a sprinkling. Within the marine soils lies a complex tapestry of fractured shale, sandstone, volcanic (ash) dust, and other various constituents.  — From Mt Veeder Appellation

 

shale

This rock I have seen in some places mounded up into nearly hill-sized formations which I suspect to be left behind by an ancient volcanic upheaval.  Hard and a bit brittle, this broken shale is generally dark charcoal grey,  although sometimes a medium grey.

jenjoycedesign© 031

To achieve this color I use colors from the color-saturated neutral, blended with undyed wool shades of  natural black and natural grey.

jenjoycedesign© 013

And as natural black and brown fleeces are amazingly varied in breed and color, so can be this shale colorway, ranging from medium grey to almost black, just as the rock is.

jenjoycedesign© 026

Stay tuned for geologcial 3,  which will be a woolly colorway of yet another geological composite.   Very pleased with the charcoal/black in my  tweedy palette, I give you the recipe I have written for “Shale” …

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Techy stuff for Shale…

  • Began with Primary & Secondary Neutral recipe using approx 2.5g each of green, purple, and orange  AND  blue, red, and yellow, (or alternately 5g each of primary or secondary triad colors) blended thoroughly on blending board (see Blending For Tweed Simplified) ,lift batt, set aside.
  • Layer 15g natural black with 15g natural grey,  lift batt.

Note: This blend is 50/50 black and grey. For darker color blend more black and less grey, and for lighter blend more grey, and less black.

  • Layer color-saturated neutral batt with black/grey batt alternately.
  • Lift batt, layer again.   Layer once more for a more homogenized result, or go on to next step.
  • draw off rolags.
  • Colorway blend:  ” Shale” .
  • See ALL color blending experiments & recipes archived in Tweed Chronicles

Geological

jenjoycedesign© paws at the peak

photo from archives: Paws

Inspired by the rock forms of the mountain, I have created three more colors in my palette, introduced in three parts.  But first, let me borrow a quote from a reliable local vintners’ source, they who take the geology of this appellation very seriously…

Mount Veeder is primarily an island of ancient seabed, pushed up in the mountain’s formation five million years ago. This is the only Napa Valley appellation that can claim this unique geologic phenomenon. While the rest of Napa Valley was covered in volcanic ash 1 million years ago during the eruption of Mount Saint Helena to the north, Mount Veeder received just a sprinkling. Within the marine soils lies a complex tapestry of fractured shale, sandstone, volcanic (ash) dust, and other various constituents.  — From Mt Veeder Appellation

In my observation the most prevalent of these three mentioned geological rock forms must be sandstone, ranging from a dull tan, to a rusty brown and sometimes sparkles with colors, sandstone is the color of everywhere …SandstoneEspecially at the summit of the mountain these rocks are of rather large proportion, and an outstanding geological feature.   Sandstone, with color-saturated neutral base, so like the true rock form created from a composite of many grains of colorful sand, blended with natural white and natural brown wool …

005

The nice thing is, using natural brown fleece, there is quite a variation of color, and as I blended with natural white, even more of variation of natural values & hues can be accomplished.   Just as the rock itself is so varied in color, the Sandstone colorway is too…

jenjoycedesign© 020

jenjoycedesign© sandstone spun

Next , in Geological 2, I will produce a woolly colorway of another popular rockform, but as yet, I am waiting for my wool to come in the mail!     Until then, here’s how I made “Sandstone”  …

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Techy stuff for Sandstone…

  • Began with Primary & Secondary Neutral recipe using approx 2.5g each of green, purple, and orange, blue, red, and yellow, (or alternately 5g each of primary or secondary triad colors) blended thoroughly on blending board (see Blending For Tweed Simplified)  Note: for a more dramatic tweed, with gobs of color splashing through, blend only once , then continue.

001

  • Lift color-saturated neutral batt, set aside, and blend 7.5g each of natural brown, and natural white.

002

  • Combine layer of color neutral with brown…
  • Lift batt, layer alternately with 7.5g each more of natural brown, and natural white.  Note: In second blending, for a browner tone, continue with only brown, omitting the white, and for a creamier beige tone,  omit the brown.
  • Draw off rolags.
  • Colorway blend:  ” Sandstone” .
  • See ALL color blending experiments & recipes archived in Tweed Chronicles

Manzanita Blossom

photo from archives:  A Storm On The Way

The blossoms of the Arctostaphylos (manzanita) on the ridge trail of the mountain ~~ one with pink flowers, and one with white ~~ are the first blossoms arriving in winter!

pink blooming manzanita

pink blooming manzanita

Nestled side by side on the ridge, the two varieties are perfectly complimenting of each other, and as fragrant as they are breathtaking in beauty.

white blooming manzanita

white blooming manzanita

((You can read more about the manzanita in this post ))

Now looking at my latest tweed yarn colorway:  “manzanita blossom” …  it will be a pink, with a just a dusting of white.

jenjoycedesign© rolags

A blush of pink against rocky volcanic landscape is one of the most beautiful things in the mountain landscape, and I do think I found just the right shade ( although I wished I put a tiny bit more white in the last blending layer) …

jenjoycedesign© spun manzanita

A shy pink.

A pink which is the color of mid winter … pale and fresh.

jenjoycedesign© spun1

There in the pink is the saturated neutral too.

jenjoycedesign© spun

Now, let me show you how I do it…

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Techy stuff for Manzanita (pink)…

  •  Color Saturated Neutral recipe for approx 5g each of primary triad of blue, red, and yellow:  Blended thoroughly on blending board with 15g of white as many times as necessary to fully homogenize…

jenjoycedesign© primary neautral + white

  • With neutral-white mix, layer alternately with 5g each of Fuscia, Rose, and Flamingo Pinks, and 5-10g more white  (see Blending For Tweed Simplified)

jenjoycedesign© add pinks and white

  •  Lift batt, and layer again twice more.  (Note to improve: try last layering with another 5g white. to get more white ‘streaking’)
  • Draw off rolags.
  • Colorway blend:  “Manzanita blossom” .
  • See ALL color blending experiments & recipes archived in Tweed Chronicles

 

Clover

jenjoycedesign© wild-red-clover

photo in archives: A Walk Among Wildflowers

There is absolutely nothing that I can think of as red in the wild landscape as the crimson clover which grows abundant in the meadows nearby on the mountain, the meadows where Emma and I have walked countless times, and forefront of my mind when I think of a name for the colorway of red. Wild, herbaceous gobs of crimson, are the trifolium incarnatum  flowers.

jenjoycedesign© red clover rolags

Crimson is the color I am trying to grasp.

jenjoycedesign© red clover spinning

It needs a little improvement for next time (perhaps more red)

jenjoycedesign© red clover spun 2

But this is it ~~~  my crimson clover .

jenjoycedesign© red clover spun

I am looking forward to six months from now when the wildflowers will hopefully have returned from the burned topsoil, as the grass has already … shy little green sprouts everywhere !  Tomorrow morning is the winter solstice, and I am glad to see it finally come, and to see pass my huge disappointment of  once favored ( oh how fickle of a season) Autumn.    Winter come, o’ please be gentle, cast your sleepy spell on the landscape, and clean up the blackened death from the wildfire, soften it with rain and bring back the wildflowers and the moss, so that the landscape may wake anew with spring growth, restored and resilient and colorful.    Autumn,  to you I bid good bye.

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Techy stuff for Red Clover…

  • Lift neutral batt, layer alternately with 5g each of ruby red and rose pink.
  • Lift batt, layer alternately with 5g (or more) of red.
  • Draw off rolags.
  • Colorway blend:  “Red Clover” .
  • See ALL color blending experiments & recipes archived in Tweed Chronicles

 

the color of fog …

March's entrance

photo from archives: Shades Of Fog

Fog is a huge part of life on the mountain, for me, and I just love the fog show …

jenjoycedesign© fog Jan 2015

fog in January, 2015

I love to watch it pour over the ridge from the Pacific, fluid and volatile, and into the valley,  or splashing up from it.  I also love it just thickly hovering about …

jenjoycedesign©blue oaks in fog

photo from archives:  Foggy

So naturally, my next tweed endeavor must capture the color of fog !

jenjoycedesign© fog white

It is my basic white,  well,  a near white, where like fog, you see faint color of images behind …

 

Just a tiny bit of the color-saturated neutral to start, then blended several times with increasing amount of white wool, so you’ll see flecks of blue, red and yellow upon close inspection.

jenjoycedesign© 018

I really am enjoying developing a personal hand-spun color palette, and see no end to my combing wool in different combinations, racing obsessively from blending board to the spinning wheel, grabbing my camera to photograph, wash, dry, wind on swift, photogragh again …

jenjoycedesign© fog 5

… then on to the next !

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Techy stuff for Fog (white)…

  •  Color Saturated Neutral recipe for approx 10-15% base, primary triad of blue, red, and yellow:  Blended thoroughly on blending board.   Note: for a more dramatic tweed, with gobs of color splashing through, blend only once , then continue.
  • Starting with white, layer alternately with neutral (see Blending For Tweed Simplified)
  •  Lift batt, divide as needed and layer again and again with more white, repeatedly fully hemogenized, more or fewer times until white/neutral values balance as desired.
  • Draw off rolags.
  • Colorway blend:  “Fog” .
  • See ALL color blending experiments & recipes archived in Tweed Chronicles

Madrone

(photo from archives Whisper In The Woods)

What I miss most right now,  are the madrones , Arbutus Menziesii, a unique kind of tree native to the California Coast and mountain ranges, with an interesting rusty orange bark that sheds in papery sheets…

Madrones have an indescribable color if ever you were to witness, it turning at first shed a bright green, which changes in a matter of days to a greyish orange, then to browner rust.

by the window

( photo from archives…  Gone Wild)

Among the madrones is a wonderful place to be;  hidden,  enchanting,  and ever-so-quiet, and kept company right outside of the window where I loved to write, knit, or spin.    I have tried to capture my madrones, blending color after color,  overdoing the layers, but eventually I think I found close to the indescribable.  A bit too much orange I think, but I have made notes of how to improve my next blending experiment.

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Meanwhile Emma seems to be perfectly happy in her new napping places…

Emma

I take her up nearly everyday to the woods, the place where the house was ~~ will be again~~ (which is as of last weekend a nice freshly excavated dirt area) , and she loves to sniff the air while riding in the back of the car with the windows down, and bark at the cows or horses she see’s along the way. I spoil her a lot these days, and we love our trip up the mountain to the ‘house’ …  we meander as before, and I am knit-walking again!

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Techy stuff  for Madrone …

  • Added 10g each of cinnamon, rose, and amber, layered again.
  • Lift batt, and layered again.  Too pink,  so decided to add 5g  of amber.
  • Not brown enough, so added 5g Hazelnut, and layered to have a bit of brown streaking in the spin.
  • Drew off rolags.
  • Colorway of blend “Madrone”
  • Note of improvement:  Next time more red instead of the amber step, and more brown on last blend.
  • See ALL color blending experiments & recipes archived in Tweed Chroniclesjenjoycedesign©woods

 

Spinning by a window …

jenjoycedesign© spinning by a window

Spinning by a window  …
jenjoycedesign© spinning Wild Flaxlight flooding in to  unwind my shadowy worries.

jenjoycedesign© 010

I cast my mind to a warm landscape of wild flax …

 hoping to find the colors of the flowers in the wool blend …

jenjoycedesign© 019

I have been doing a lot of fiber blending,  and a little spinning too, which is for now easing me slowly back into creative mood.

jenjoycedesign© spun

( and am so grateful to “L” for the gift of a beautiful Ashford Traditional spinning wheel!)

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In closing,  FEMA clean-up crews have been working rapidly in Napa & Sonoma counties since the wildfire of October, and by the end of December, maybe a clean slate for us? Impossible to forecast the rebuilding ahead,  for now I find the cozy window here my joy of the afternoon.

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Techy stuff  for my Wild Flax Blue …

  •  2 g each of primary colors (6g tot) , for a base of color-saturated neutral ,  see this post; blend thoroughly on blending board 3 times Total 6g.    Note: for a more dramatic tweed, with gobs of color splashing through, blend only once , then continue.
  • 6g cornflower blue, layer very thinly one color at a time, with neutral base. Tot 12g.
  • Lift batt, layered again with 2g each of white, light green, teal. Tot 18g.

( I was trying to get more blended base, with a ‘dusting’ of brilliant blue on the last blend…)

  • Lift batt, and layered again with 2g  of cornflower blue. Tot 20g.
  • Drew off rolags.
  • Colorway of blend “Wild Flax Blue”
  • See ALL color blending experiments & recipes archived in Tweed Chronicles

Color Saturated Neutral

jenjoycedesign© spun
I have successfully made a color saturated neutral.

Nested in a mountain of other neutral tones, you don’t see it right away,

   but look at where I started …

jenjoycedesign© primary & secondary mix
Primary and secondary colors all in exact equal amounts …

carded three times on the blending board  …

then drawn out into tasty wool sausages !
jenjoycedesign© rolags

If you check out my Primary triad blend here ,  I’ll say that the secondary triad blend experiment was much the same, nearly indistinguishable from the primary , and theoretically should be the same for any color triad on the color wheel .  Tertiary triads too, and lighter values of the triads; as light blue for blue, pink for red, aqua for teal, peach for orange, etc.

In this experiment,  I used two triads together ;  primary + secondary ,  for my ultimate color-saturated neutral, and I must say this blend was really fun to spin … the colors are all there. 

jenjoycedesign© spun detail

I’ve got my color-saturated-neutral base recipe, a base for my own color palette of ‘slightly earthy heathers’ , as I’ve never been drawn to vivid hues when buying yarns.  From a color-saturated neutral I can base everything, light or dark, and with color intensity varying.  I’m looking forward to developing more recipes ~~ watch this space!

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Techy stuff …

  • Equal amounts of each of primary: red, yellow, and blue , and/or secondary: purple, orange and green.
  • Layered very thinly one color at a time, alternately.  I mean really a lot of thin layers … using  this technique,
  • Lifted batt, layered again, total of three times.
  • Drew off rolags.
  • Colorway blend:  “Color Saturated Neutral” .
  • See ALL color blending experiments & recipes archived in Tweed Chronicles

 

The color of sea grass …

Pacific-coast-grass

I am deep into the study of color saturated neutrals.

jenjoycedesign© rolags 4

What is a color saturated neutral? Well, when I blend equal amounts of the primary colors together, the affect is at first glance, a seemingly dull clay color ,  as I posted previously about HERE.

In this experiment I added to the primary triad mix, one secondary color – green,    integrating all of the colors on the blending board with this technique ,  bringing the whole color balance leaning a little bit toward the green … a weathered sea grass green.

jenjoycedesign© primaries + green

primary colors + 1 secondary (green)

jenjoycedesign© first batt

first blended batt

jenjoycedesign© second batt

second blended batt

I then added some un-dyed natural white to give it some texture and depth.

jenjoycedesign© third batt + white

third blended batt, adding white

Colorway reminds me of the pampas grasses which grow along the Pacific coast.

jenjoycedesign© 004

While enjoying some spinning on my Ashford Traditional wheel (( a resonating gratitude to  “L” who wishes not to be mentioned ))   I have decided that perhaps Tweed Chronicles is a new love which causes only happiness …

jenjoycedesign© spun 3

And the studying of color is making me look deeper into the surface,  and imagine how the colors are found the same way in nature.

Next I am pairing primaries with secondaries, and finding super color saturation in what is an alarmingly gorgeous & complex neutral. Watch this space!

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Techy stuff …

  •  5g each of (near primary) red, yellow, and blue — plus green,  merino roving = 20g.
  • Layered very thinly one color at a time, alternately.  using this technique: Blending for tweed simplified
  • Lifted batt, layered again, total of three times. Lifted bat, and sectioned into strips of about 3.
  • With 15g white cormo roving, divided into 3 sections.
  • Layered very thinly white, then color blend, alternately.
  • Lifted batt, and layered again, loosely.
  • Drew off rolags.
  • I’m naming this colorway blend ” Pacific Coast Grass ” .
  • See ALL color blending experiments & recipes archived in Tweed Chronicles

 

color

jenjoycedesign© tweed1

Back into Tweed Chronicles I have found once again rhythm in myself, perhaps a melody too. I have been thinking about the color wheel, and the basics I learned decades ago, and so I am applying it now to natural fiber ~~~ easy enough!

jenjoycedesign© tweed4

In fact, my whole color blending Tweed Chronicles has little to do with wool breeds and fibers,  almost nothing to do with spinning technique ( I am only a fair spinner)  …  but nearly all pure color theory, and blending technique.   I am a colorist perhaps, above all.

jenjoycedesign© tweed5

I am merely attempting to relive the high points of discovery that must have happened with folk centuries ago in the tweed mills, of a bygone era. I am all about the bygone era I think, feeling that deep tap root into human creativity that runs timeless and wild.

jenjoycedesign© tweed spun

Putting the primary colors together in a kind of color triad, is something that normally I would never do, for I am not in the least fond of primary colors, or even secondary.  But the complex blends of colors are made of of the basic colors, and so I am working with the  primaries & secondaries in a tweed experiment that I hope works just as I am conceiving it in my mind, as I lose myself to sleep at night, dreaming the magic of heathered tones.

jenjoycedesign© tweed spun 3 detail

The best time of day is when the sun shines through the window bright enough to bring to life the best work of my imagination. Couple that with a delicious cup of coffee, and who would want anything more of the morning?

jenjoycedesign© tweed7

Well now, its off to the charity shops to see if I can find some good chairs!   Aside from this recent color blending euphoria, I am feeling a bit too tender and not wanting to cooperate with the holidays this year.   Scotty, beam me to January.

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Techy stuff of what I did …

  •  5g each of (near primary) red, yellow, and blue dyed merino roving = 15g.
  • Layered on blending board very thinly one color at a time, alternately.  I mean really a lot of thin layers … using technique Blending for tweed simplified.
  • Lifted batt, layered again a second time, then a third. Lifted bat, and sectioned into strips of about 5 or 6.
  • With 15g white cormo roving, divided in as many sections as the color blend.
  • Layered very thinly white, then color blend, alternately.
  • Lifted batt, and layered again twice.
  • Drew off rolags.
  • I’m naming this colorway blend ” Primary Triad + white”.
  • See ALL color blending experiments & recipes archived in Tweed Chronicles

Lingering question of the day:  Which one of you generous people sent me all of the Cormo wool? Was it Laurie? Rose? Adele? Lynette? (I am so sorry I lost track, but I’ve been rather hollow in my head!) From the bottom of my heart~~ thank you~~ it is absolutely dreamy!!!!

Tweed Chronicles

jenjoycedesign© spinning tweed

I can’t stay away from the blending board…

jenjoycedesign© colors to blend

 nor can I stop testing my instincts about color,

and layering them ever so finer … and finer …. and even finer…

jenjoycedesign© 1st batt

1st batt, 1st carding

 just to see how the colors will work together.

jenjoycedesign© tweedy 3

Because perhaps I am just ridiculous!

jenjoycedesign© detail

rolags from 2nd batt, second carding, and wonderfully oceanic!

So I have decided to make a new category  ~~  Tweed Chronicles ~~ wherein I can post my tweed yarn making refinements, as I explore both predictable as well as the unpredictable color combinations (maybe especially the unpredictable),  my learned improvements of technique, and so on.

jenjoycedesign© tweed 9

Techy stuff 

  •  20g of white undyed roving I acquired decades ago, the tweedy “nepps” from the slubby roving are excellent for tweed, 20g of mixed Shetland I over-dyed with color peacock, 10g of Corriedale  aqua, and 10g of Corriedale dark denim.
  • Layered very thinly … I mean really a lot of thin layers… using technique: Blending for tweed simplified. 
  • Lifted batt, layered again a second time.
  • Drew off rolags.
  • Total of only two “cardings”.

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I have found another gem in the “Hands” series I’ve been watching countless times over the last month, while I learn the technique of long-draw tweed spinning on my little wheel, and learn the art of color in fiber.  And because I have always been so deeply inspired from nostalgia, this one is my new favorite.  Enjoy!

Blending for tweed simplified.

jenjoycedesign© rolags!

I have been refining my technique of tweed color blending on my blending board.

jenjoycedesign© rolags 2

I think of this fiber blending process as a micro wool mill, it is basically achieving the same thing in my mind, that the big wool mills do, the ones which card together whole dyed fleeces of wool and put through massive carding machines to make incredibly rich heathered blends for “tweed” yarn.  Furthermore, I’ve been inspired to simplify the process as much as possible, and with as few tools as possible, in what I call ‘micro batches’ of around 30 – 50g.

jenjoycedesign© 1st batt

First batt

In this post I show the different stages of each carding, and with only three times loading the blending board, I almost completely homogenized four separate colors!

An improvement on the last post  in which I talk about my fiber blending recipe #3, this demonstration is ever so much easier, showing finer, wispier layers. Fine layering is key I think, to fewer cardings, meaning faster results.

jenjoycedesign© 2nd batt

Second batt

I’d like to add that the only equipment other than the blending board needed is some sort of apparatus to spin the fiber  with; this can be a spinning wheel, or a rudimentary drop spindle, nothing fancy is needed, in fact, my wheel is very tiny and almost insignificant — I bought it for $250 brand new in 1987, and although there have been times I’ve wanted to upgrade to a big wheel, I resisted the expense, and was determined to do more with less. Thus, making my blending board was a very resonating positive instead of buying a very  expensive drum carder, and I’ve learned that one can really have their own micro wool mill, with very little ~~ so empower yourself, and make some tweed yarn!

A retrospective thought: In carding the colors together three times, each time hemongenizing the colors into each other significantly more,  I must say, I almost wished I’d spun it from just the first batt, as those colors looked so delicious so fresh and softly vibrant!

jenjoycedesign© tweed 8

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And now the technical stuff…

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Corriedale roving: salmon, fuscia, amber, and ruby.

In this blend, I’ve used only colored Corriedale solid roving, no undyed or other fiber. The steps are illustrated with a slideshow at bottom of post, and they are:

  1. Lay the colors in extremely thin wispy layers (as shown in slideshow) It will take a lot of layers to get through all of your fiber, but this is part of the carding process. I’ve used Corriedale roving in; 20g salmon, 10g fuscia, 10g amber, 10g ruby.
  2. Comb down as needed until teeth are full and all your fiber layered. You can see this above, photo captioned “first batt” , and you can draw off into rolags straight from this step if you want a lesser homogenized look, or even just spin from the batt itself , sectioned into strips and coiled up.
  3. With strips of first batt, layer into teeth again, just as thinly as you have been, because again, this a part of the homogenization process.
  4. Lift batt and either spin  from this, or layer once more into a third batt.
  5. Lastly draw off into rolags.

Now, after all this playing with fiber blending on the thing which is called a “blending board” I would like to link to a few of my favorite sources online, all where a spinner/felter can purchase blending boards & fiber additionally, if a nifty fiber & spinning shop is nowhere near you to be found.  (These are of course, USA sourced, but I am confident these can be found probably most anywhere, or available at shops which sell spinning equipment & tools.)

Paradise Fibers Blending Board for $175, comes with board, blending brushes, dowels

Laughing Lamb Blending Board for $185, comes with board, blending brush, dowels

The Woolery a whole selection of blending boards, starting at $149

Oh, and in case you’re still unsure of what a blending board actually does, I’ve searched YouTube for you , all ready to surf through the fun blending videos… HERE 

What I use: I’d like to say that even though I made my own from a 24″x12″ piece of carding cloth (read in this post)  that it would be a lot easier to purchase a regular 12″x12″ blending board already made up, in a kit with brushes & dowels.  However, carding cloth is available by the foot if making one’s own is preferred.  Additionally, although many people use blending boards on their lap, I find it much better to use on a table top, secure & flat, with the foot of the board hooked on the edge of surface so I can pull the fiber into the teeth and pull the needles toward me when drawing off rolags — not away from me, or sideways.   I have found that large slippery metal knitting needles work better than dowels, and use a pair of my mother’s old aluminum ones, size US 13- 9mm.  Lastly, the only other tool I use, other than the needles and blending board itself, is a paintbrush comb, which can be found at a hardware store, something like this  with rigid teeth and very sharp points, to lift the fiber off of the carding board.   I use the palm of my left hand to gently and carefully hold the fiber against the teeth as my right hand pulls the fiber along the carding surface. That is all I use; carding board, needles, and comb.

All my posts related to blending boards in this category.

And now …. here’s the show!

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Fiber Blending Recipe 3 – Carded

jenjoycedesign© carded mix rolags

Tweedy mossy wool sausages are the most recent in my string of obsessive experiments in color blending, and this time in which I am basically carding by using the blending board alone! I lay down the layers, and lifting the batt after teeth are full, section out the batt and with little pieces I pull down into the teeth again and again and again. This process doesn’t need hand carders, I am able to homogenize colors & fibers with the blending board as the only carding tool!

jenjoycedesign© carded rolags detal

The depth of color created from blending many colors together create a stunning result! Compare to the original solid dyed olive roving, to the tweedy rolags with a prism of colors hazing into each other, all together making a very similar green. (I will show spun yarn photos later, for I have notes on actual spinning that I want to go into a little depth about)

jenjoycedesign© carded mix with original olive roving

I am documenting my tweed yarn making process, hoping that I will arrive with a few tested methods which I can use as recipes in future to refine my own tweed color palette. I am inspired now, to do it all with only my blending board , because there is such freedom unfolding ahead of me, in discovering I can perfectly well make my own personal tweed colorway from an array of solids in the fiber of my choice  ~~ making the vertical hand-made experience all that much more in depth & customized.  I feel like I am my own micro wool mill, and I am unstoppable.  

Meanwhile, I hope all of this fiber tech stuff does not bore the socks off of you ~~ if so, I promise, this will be a string of a few more posts, then I will move on to my usual philosophical banter about life on the mountain.

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Now back to the techy stuff…

Edit In: I have posted HERE a final best method of my Fiber Blending Recipe #3.

Notes on Blending Recipe 3: For the best homogenization of color I have used only wool fibers, they are: undyed fawn Shetland, olive Corriedale, mallard (dark teal) Corriedale, and amber corriedale.  Here is what I am doing , as illustrated by a photo slideshow at the bottom of the post.  In case you want to make more than one micro batch, a good idea to write down weights of each color, so you can repeat process.

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  1. Portion out the fiber I want to mix, weighing if possible.
  2. One at a time, ​thinly layer each color into the teeth of the blending board, combing down the fiber between each layer, until all the fiber is loaded onto the board and the teeth are full.
  3. ​With comb lift whole batt off of teeth.
  4. ​Divide batt now into small sections, and again thinly layer into teeth, pulling and drafting & “carding” as you thinly layer again. You are essentially carding using your hands to pull fiber along one carding surface.
  5.  Repeat this process until the fibers and colors are fully homogenized, or as desired.
  6. Draw fiber out into rolags!

You can find all of my experiments in blending & Fiber Blending Recipes HERE

Okay then, here’s the show!

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The color of sea shells…

 

jenjoycedesign© sea shell rolags

I am back at my fiber blending board, trying out more fiber mixing!

I am striving to achieve the colors in shells, particular the conch shells like these…
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I believe it to be a color match success!

jenjoycedesign© conch shell rolags

All the colors in the shell, these rolags are wonderful colorways for a future spin.

jenjoycedesign© seashell rolags 3

The end whorls of soft downy ultrafine merino are a lovely woolly confection!

jenjoycedesign© seashell rolags 2

The white base fiber is Ultrafine Merino top, and I swear, it is almost exactly like the suri alpaca that I have, extremely soft & silky!

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I like to change fiber texture in the layers, between base fiber and secondary colors, so the salmon & fushcia pinks are a different grade of Merino top, and the shimmering gold is bamboo. Okay, here’s the show!

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Main Fiber = Paradise Fibers Ultrafine Merino Top (white); layered between everything.

Secondary Fibers = Paradise Fibers Solid Merino Top; layered thinly, salmon first, then fuscia.

Accent Fiber= Paradise Fibers Bamboo Top (topaz); layered last, in scant stripes.

Two repeats of sequence.

A fiber blending color trick….

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Gorgeous pearlescence like beach shells…

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Made from nice combed top roving,  so there’ll be no bumps and slubby bits in this batch, and the amazing thing is that all the color in these rolags are from combing tips of stash yarn!

During my last blending post, I discovered a “yarn brush” technique, and having invented this for myself, I feel like I should explain how I do it.  From doing a few times I think it is easiest to to cut a handful of the yarn, in lengths about 4 to 6 inches, loop around and hold the ‘brush’ firmly in the middle. I am using my paintbrush comb, but you can use hand carders or a fine tooth comb, and comb the ends of the yarn to loosen up and fray the plies, which then you can then push into the carding teeth…

jenjoycedesign© yarn combing

I’ve found that most of the looser plied fluffy yarns, like some Berocco  Inca Tweed I had handy, work best, and certainly any of the single ply yarns work beautifully without the combing the tip, they just brush off into the carding cloth easily.  In the slideshow, if you hold your mouse over the images, the text will explain what I’m doing.

jenjoycedesign© tweed 3

Okay,  here’s the show!

 

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Blending Recipe 1

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Finally a few hours to play with texture and color!

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 I finally got into spreading color all over those metal carding teeth…

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Just look at these colors drawn into delicious fiber sausages to feed to my spinning wheel…

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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 blend. 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…

 

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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.

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I almost think I enjoy creating the rolags more than I do the spinning of them, which is an entirely new art for me!

Spun

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I am experiencing a bit of a renaissance in hand-spinning. I never was that much of an intentional spinner, although I am attempting to be now…. perhaps I’ve grown up a little bit? With this alpaca that I brought out of the recesses of my loft closet, I worked it from raw fleece and  in this post  I show the carding & blending process.  After spinning it up, here I am measuring & weighing the yarn to discover what gauge it is.

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Here is what I do:  I run the yarn through a ‘winding station’, which measures yardage while winding off the skein on to a ball, then weigh the ball, and take notes.

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This is about an aran weight. Getting more savvy in substituting hand-spun and I am itching to ‘paint’ again with fiber on my blending board. Recycled sari silk (yes, made from silk cloth of saris), bamboo, rose fiber… the works, and Oh! This was my most recent creation over the weekend, taking some very coarse Lincoln-Corriedale I’ve had for 30 years (from my sheep Hazel, plus another part fleece I have long forgotten where it came) , and blended it up together into a bat of 50/50 dark & white, which the white was extremely slubby (thats having little bits of wool puffs) I used that blend to layer with some ultra nice dyed corriedale roving  I recently bought, in colors amber, mulberry, and ruby, and also a little Huacaya Alpaca , and made tasty little wool sausages….

jenjoycedesign© tweed rolags

And, over the weekend, here is what I spun up…. slubby, exotic woolen spun blend

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Meanwhile, the general news…

Emma is in her last days of having to endure The Cone, for the surgery she had a week ago already (to remove a low-grade sarcoma on her front leg, she will be alright, no reason to be alarmed). My nieces have started school already, Miss Seventeen is a senior this year, and Miss Fourteen is now in 9th grade!  I’m very busy presently working up two patterns to be available in a double download, and prototyped in the hand-spun alpaca!  And we’re having some gorgeous cool foggy mornings at last! Life is good.

Emma in the cone

Emma 2 days after surgery.