I am more than half way through my fiber preparation, and I am really happy to say that I have made a breakthrough with the blending board! In the last two years I have been doing a lot of fiber blending experiments but it seems recently I’ve noticed my results are overly compact rolags, so much that spinning has been difficult. I couldn’t even see why I ever decided trying to spin from the rolag method or why I thought it was better.
Backstory: If you see my post from August 2017 “Woolen or Worsted?” , I muse a little bit about the preparation of the wool & that I noticed how it affects the end result of the yarn. Whether taken off the blending board in one big batt, and pulling apart into smaller sections, or using a ” diz ” to gather a continuous roving from your carded fiber, or like I am doing here, making rolags around two dowels from off the blending board, in a perfect world, a spinner should try all ways I would think. I am aiming for a bouncy airy “woolen” spun yarn, and why I’m practicing spinning from rolags.
After the first 50g color test of my 500 gram project of English Rose Tweed blend, I realized I may have a technique error. I remember back in my first blending projects , especially this one, blended with super fine & fluffy ingredients, and how light & airy the rolags were, and so very easy to spin. So I tried a change with this batch; I lifted more and pulled over the teeth less. That’s it! Just more lifting when rolling the fiber around the dowels ( I use slick aluminum needles) to make the rolags, and less pulling, and that took a lot of friction out of the process. I guess my technique had morphed without my thinking about it, and over time I was working the rolags with a massive amount more friction. Well I had a big ” duh ” moment, and now I am conscious of this I am getting fluffy frothy whipped woolly confections again, to spin later.
Later that is, when I’m through blending all of the rest of the carefully measured ingredients to English Rose Tweed. Committing to the long-haul of a big project is something I haven’t done in a long long time. This is work I tell you! But just look at these beauties….
See all posts in this series Spinning For A Project.
(( click 1st image to go to slideshow… ))
Part two of my series “Spinning for a Project” (see Part One) and second post of the day, this one being about designing the wool blend for the hand spun yarn, so eventually knit into a future project. A blend which I’m calling “English Rose Tweed” for the Malabrigo colorway’s namesake. These are the wools I am blending all together to make 500g of yarn, the amount I forecast needing to knit a sweater. (Note: So much of this fiber was a gift to me from “rescue spinners” after the wildfire, when I was given my Ashford Traditional wheel from L. ) When recently I thought to try the Malabrigo Nube roving, I chose “English Rose” and thought that I really wanted to try doing a blend with it with natural undyed roving.
I have weighed off each wool color into ten segments each, to put each together into ten 50g batches to do incrementally, but I wanted to share the recipe after the 1st blend, so I could refer to it for the rest of the batches, and so I could do a test spin-up on the first blending before proceeding.
In the next post you will see these rolags all spun up! I may not like the results after the first 50g test and add a color to continue, but stay tuned to find out if these are a keeper. Also you can see all posts in my Spinning for A Project series.
Okay, here’s what I did…
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Techy stuff for English Rose Tweed…
- I need 500g for a sweater project; using 113g Malabrigo Nube (roving) in English Rose colorway, along with 122 g of grey merino, 200g mixed brown & natural wool (unknown breed) and 65g white cormo.
- 500g of wool blend divides into ten 50g batches, so using a gram scale, I divided all into equal 10 segments.
Note: With hand-dyed braid of Malabrigo Nube “English Rose”, I decided to keep a consistent color ‘bookmatch’ by splitting the dyed braid along the length into 5 segments, then each of those long skinny segments more easily in half, folded end to end and pulled apart at center. Otherwise, pulling apart the dyed roving when full thickness it was seriously hard (being 100% Merino), and should never ever be considered to cut it.
- Layered very thinly one color at a time, alternately. using this technique: Blending for tweed simplified
- Lifted batt, and sectioned into strips of four, to photograph the transition wool rolls.
- I took the wool and layered again, then photographed rolls again.
- Layered wool rolls once more and drew off rolags.
- I’m naming this colorway blend ” English Rose Tweed “
- See ALL color blending experiments & recipes archived in Tweed Chronicles
(( Click 1st image in mosaic to go to slideshow with commentary. ))
200g mixed natural (unknown wool)
122g grey Merino
113g of Malabrigo Nube in “English Rose” colorway
65g of natural white cormo
divided into ten 50g batches like this
lay down first mix
some English Rose
more English Rose
cormo (repeat with first color)
Comb fiber into carding cloth then lift off batt
blend into carding cloth again
After blending into carding cloth once more, drew off rolags. Mighty pretty!