Tweed Chronicles: One + One

jenjoycedesign© dyed braid + white 1

How good it is to be back to my Tweed Chronicles!  I seriously have been yearning for this moment for what seems forever, thinking about wool blending in my sleep.  So having moved tools of the trade into the new loft room, it is with great celebration that I resume my blending experiments, just as I was doing two years ago.    I have been contemplating a pale palette over the last year, ” pastels ” just appeal to me these days, wanting to tame the intensity in life with soothing color I suppose.  I received so many gifts from the spinning community after the wildfire, not only a beautiful Ashford Traditional spinning wheel from “L” (thank you so much L , I am forever grateful, and the Ashford is working beautifully after being stored four seasons in a shed!)  but there were many gifts of spinning wool too (thank you & hugs to everyone who sent wool!).  So now having everything nicely within reach, I looked over it all and got an idea with a hand-dyed color braid I found, by Nest Fiber Club, called “Muse”. 

Wanting to lighten up the color a great deal, I added one part white. I went from these . . . 

jenjoycedesign© dyed braid + white

To these . . .

jenjoycedesign© dyed braid + white 2

to these . . .

jenjoycedesign© dyed braid + white 3

and finally to these . . .

jenjoycedesign© dyed braid + white 7

I reckon I will be spinning up these tasty wool sausages next and seeing how my hand at the wheel does after an unplanned hiatus.  This was the perfect re-entry into my blending experiments too, although I was a bit forgetful about the steps, it came out lovely. Now as I need some practice again with my recipe documentation, here’s how I did it . . .

♣     ♣     ♣

Techy stuff for One + One…

  • Recipe I am calling “One + One” is 1 part hand-dyed colored roving plus 1 part undyed roving in natural white, grey, brown, or black, etc. (in this case white).
  • I split a sliver off the “side” of the length of dyed roving, along the entire length so that it has the same colors in sequence as the hand-dyed roving. I then weighed, and it was 28g. I then matched the same weight in ultra fine white merino, totaling 56g.
  • Then divided the two rovings equally into  4 thinner slivers ( made into little rolls to photograph) to hold together while drawing onto the teeth of the blending board, until the teeth were moderately full ( which actually only took three times, and why you see my wool rolls count go from 4 to 3)
  • Using paintbrush tool to lift batts from board, (rolling up again to photograph 1st mix) I drew out each roll onto the board again as before, resulting in slightly finer mixing of color, for a second batt.
  • Repeated last step again, ending after a third time.
  • Drew off rolags.
  • See ALL color blending experiments & recipes archived in Tweed Chronicles

Click 1st image in mosaic and go to slideshow in sequence with commentary… 

Tweed Chronicles: Carding & Blending

jenjoycedesign© rolags

I’ve been lured into somewhat of a trend. The trend is carding & blending boards!  Such a beautiful tool are the ones purchased by Ashford, etc, and I was so excited to buy one, but I resisted knowing that I was perfectly able to make my own. So with Jeff’s help, I did…

005I bought  24″ of  very expensive 12″ carding cloth, but still less expensive than a new 12×12″ board.  We cut some plywood to size, and after a quick glue & nailing down the carding cloth, added a footing to the head, and a handle, and ended up with double the size of the regular blending boards available. Not bad!  I then spent hours practicing on some old weedy raw fleece I had hidden away, found my old carders, and had a go with some alpaca.

jenjoycedesign© carding alpaca

Mixing first by hand, then carding three times on the board,

it eventually looked like this…

jenjoycedesign© carding alpaca 5

Then I drew the 3x carded alpaca back on to the board, caught the tips in between two dowels, then began to pull out, roll, pull out & drafted it rolling into rolags…

jenjoycedesign© making rolags

Eventually I got through all 240 grams of it and made finally into some nifty rolags ready to spin, after a heck of a lot of work …
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Honestly folks, do you have any idea how much work goes into making a simple 100g ball of yarn from raw fleece?   I’m sure there are some of you out there who do.

Which brings me back to the carding & blending board. I did say that it is a bit of a trend, I mean, just look at the process of making art rolags…

The video shows really what the blending board is all about.  I was actually using it in my above photos as a carding board for raw fleece, now I think I’ll go clean up the weeds and fluff that has spread all about my loft, because I am actually waiting for some combed top roving to show up in the mail.

Its such a strange modern era.  I feel that I have shifted from wanting to create from the roughest and unrefined of raw materials ~~ my old self ~~ into craving the ease of beautiful prepared combed top roving to spin from, or with which to create those beautiful blend rolags ~~ my new self.  I think I have worked something through here, and am considering offering to the wild all that old coarse wool from my earlier spinning days, and face a future of pleasure spinning clean exotic selection of fibers, as there is just so much available now.  I have definitely reaffirmed my respect for those who spin from animal-to-yarn, I just can’t seem to be one to run with the flock anymore, but that is okay.

I do feel the urge to spin yarn again, after a long hiatus.  I am very excited to come back and show off some really artful blended rolags from my plus size blending board, as well as the yarn spun from them!