Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fractal Spinning

Since I started wheel spinning, I’ve been interested in the different effects that one can get by spinning from fibre. It can be quite different to the effects that can be obtained when dying yarn. One of the reasons for this is that if you spin multiple plies for a yarn they do not have to be the same colour. Commercial yarns sometimes take advantage of this (such as Rowan Plaid, seen below)

Rowan Plaid - Sea Thistle

It gives a nice mottled finish when knitted, and lets the eye blend the colours.

A Tad More Plaid

The thing that one generally doesn’t get with commercial yarn, though, is two plies of the yarn with the same colours changing at different rates. One of the ways to achieve this is called fractal spinning.
The idea is that you take your braid of fibre and split it into two (or more) pieces. These are then spun as separate plies, then plied together to give a subtly striped yarn.

If you split the fibre into two, and then one of those halves is also split into two, you would get yarn which would ply together so that in some places the colours in the plies would be the same, and in some places it will “barber pole” where the colours are not the same. If you have fibre with a consistent length colour repeat then you will get a very distinct effect. (I hope to try it with some plain solid yarns, 6 of them, in sequence some time soon!)

The fibre that I have chosen for this may not show this effect in quite the way I describe above as it doesn’t have such a strongly defined colour repeat, but it was what I wanted to work with next! It’s a braid from MHE again, this one is Shetland fibre, and is called Kaleidoscope.

My Heart Exposed

First, I undid the braid

MHE Shetland Kaleidoscope

Then I split the fibre down the middle, or as close to as I could without weighing it!
I then split one half of it into two…

MHE Shetland Kaleidoscope

and then each of those two into four. I did a little pre-drafting of the fibre

MHE Shetland Kaleidoscope

before winding it into balls

MHE Shetland Kaleidoscope

I also pre-drafted the half I didn’t split up, and rolled that into a ball as well.

MHE Shetland Kaleidoscope

then I started spinning in the Z direction (wheel turning anticlockwise) to produce one ply from the large ball, and one ply from the smaller balls.

MHE Shetland Kaleidoscope

and then I plied is in the S direction (wheel turning clockwise) to give me (before finishing) 357 yards for 95 grams of yarn.

MHE Shetland Kaleidoscope

I’m really quite pleased with how it’s come out.

MHE Shetland Kaleidoscope

It’s much more pink than I was expecting it to be, which is a good thing as I love pink! It’s approximately light sock weight I think, though it has yet to take a bath and be measured properly.

MHE Shetland Kaleidoscope

I’m going to start including a breakdown of the spinning, much like the ones I do for my completed knitting. Here goes the first one:

Fiber: My Heart Exposed Shetland Fiber
Colourway: Kaleidoscope
Spun using: Ashford Traveller, highest ratio
Spin direction: Z (wheel turning anticlockwise, spin to the left)
Plying type/direction: 2ply, S (wheel turning clockwise, spin to the right)
Yarn Stats: 95g / 357yds (wpi tbc)
Verdict The Shetland was lovely to spin, it has a nice crimp to it and holds together well. It is less coarse than the Corriedale and the resulting yarn is lovely and soft.

Hopefully the yarn will bloom slightly in washing, bringing it to around 4ply/sock weight. As it’s going to self-stripe I expect that I’ll want to knit something which will show off that fact. Perhaps something like the Argosy Scarf, though it would need amending as it’s written for DK yarn. I also have some plain-ish shawls in my queue which would work well with this yarn I think!

MHE Shetland Kaleidoscope

1 comment:

My Heart Exposed Yarns said...

Such a brilliant blog post Hayz, love it!
Going to add your competition entries now :)
cant wait to see what you do decide to knit with this, I was thinking of the ridge scarf in my queue for mine but still fairly undecided.