Colourful spinning

We had the most wonderful Spinners and Weavers Christmas party. This was due in no small part because of the trade table, where you could exchange your unwanted crafty supplies for someone else’s more exciting crafty supplies.

I also decided to splurge at the shop a little, and buy some samples of different fibres, just so I could try spinning with them.


This is my loot from the night. Clockwise from top left: mohair, cotton, steel grey bamboo (traded), silk, variously dyed cotton fabric (traded) and wonderfully dyed merino/silk.

So far I have only tried spinning the bamboo – lovely and smooth, like silk but a bit heavier – and the merino/silk. Because I have access to one for the moment, I used a spinning wheel.


On the right is the unplyed, spun yarn, on the left is it once plyed.

I was introduced to a different method of plying which I used here, called navajo. Instead of lining up (at least) two threads and spinning them the opposite way to which they were spun, you take only one thread and chain stitch it as it is plyed and twisted through the wheel.

This means that you end up with a thickness of three instead of two threads, colours will match up better when using a variegated wool, and you don’t need to have two threads of the same length before you start plying. Resulting in me loving this method.


I also see a lot of benefits when using a drop spindle. I am sick of constantly winding unplyed and plyed threads off my spindle (the biggest downfall of not owning a spinning wheel and it’s multitude of spools), but I think this will make the plying process faster.


Here is the plyed yarn with the original wool.

I don’t have any solid plans as to what I will use it for yet. So far I have considered a clutch, or colourful detail around the collar and cuffs on a jumper.


Additional: something I forgot to mention about spinning a colourful roving, is how tedious it can be. If I were to spin this roving like I have been doing with my solid coloured rovings, the colours would mix and become muddy. Instead, I needed to draft the fibers by pulling sections of colours apart, and spin each colour separately. Unfortunately with a piece such as this, where there are so many colours, each of which is quite narrow, is that fibers of other colours will invariably come with what you are pulling out. This can lead to lovely colours that blend into each other, but ultimately the muddy –> clear scale depends on your patience.

My advice: if you are a novice spinner who wants to try multiple colours, buy (or dye) a roving with colours that are easier to separate. Remember that your roving is yet to be spun, plied, and knitted/woven/crochet, the colours will have ample time to get mixed together.



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