Saturday, May 10, 2008

Caribbean Adventure

Just thought you might like to see how last week's roving is spinning up.

Soooo pretty, don't you think? I have to say that the colors are even better than I had imagined. It's always kind of interesting for me to see what roving finally ends up looking like.

First, you see it in roving form, twisted or wound into a ball, and you try to imagine how the colors will look in the finished product. I can tell if I like the way the colors look together, but I really haven't yet developed the eye to know what it will look like as yarn.

Part of the problem is that there are many different ways to spin roving. Will it be singles, plied yarn or cabled yarn? They're all going to look different. And there are lots of different ways to create each ply of the finished yarn. You can split off little tiny strips and spin them one after another, which will make the color repeats short. You can split into wider strips, or don't split at all... just draft out the whole strip of roving, which will give you longer sections of each color. Or you can separate the lengths of each color and spin them together, for long continuous color blocks. And dont' forget that, for multiple plies, you split the orginial roving into two or more strips, and each can be spun a different way.

For singles, you're done at this point, but you frequently want to ply the yarn to increase its strength and bulk, or for a particular knitting effect. You can use a Navajo or chained ply to ply a single back on itself and come up with an approximation of a three-ply with long, clean color sections. Or the singles can be plied together two or three at a time for a barber-pole effect. And, if you really want to go crazy, you can ply some two-plies together for chained yarn.

Every one of these decisions creates a different yarn, along with the way you actually spin the yarn... long draw, short draw, backwards draw, worsted or woolen. They all look different... sometimes in subtle ways and sometimes in very dramatic ways.

Of course, the final step is to actually knit this yarn into something. Depending on your spinning decisions, you may have stripes of relatively clean colors, or more subtle striping with each change of color. If the color is chopped up enough by multiple plies or short color changes, you'll end up with an all-over "tweedy" look to your work.

That's why I love spinning so much. Many knitters find sooner or later that they want to have more control over the yarn they're knitting with. Spinning gives you the ultimate control, since every spinner is the artist of her final yarn. I can't wait to see where this stuff that I dyed takes me. The colors remind me of the ocean, so maybe that's what I'll call it (the roving and the process of spinning it up)... Caribbean Adventure!

1 comment:

Octopus Knits said...

It's truly lovely! I agree... there are so many exciting options when spinning : )

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