Saturday, July 11, 2009

Adding Pizazz to Your Yarn

That title is the name of a class I took at the Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival last month. I kept meaning to blog about it but you know how things get in the way. The class was designed to teach us how different fibres can be added to the wool that you are spinning to create different textures and effects. We started with very "ordinary" cream and brown fleece which we spun into small skeins. Everything else was the same base material, hand carded with some additional fibre, in order to create a blend, and then spun into a small skein which could be compared to the originals.

Here is the whole set of skeins that I made. From the top, going clockwise, the fibres are:
Natural cream and brown wool skeins
Cream and brown skeins with mohair added
Cream and brown skeins with soy silk added
Cream and brown skeins with tussah silk added
Cream and brown skeins with "Flash" added
Cream and brown skeins with turquoise acrylic added
Cream and brown skeins with Ingeo (corn fibre) added

I really enjoyed seeing how all the fibres made a difference from the original yarns, and it made me more confident about spinning with some of the more unusual fibre choices on the market today. I really liked how the soy and tussah silks added sheen and an almost luminous quality to the yarn. The "flash" is a metallic thread that, to my eye, looks like it is different colors when you mix it into the cream and brown skeins. It's pretty hard to show that in a photograph, but here they are.
My favourite fibre, I think, was the Ingeo. I didn't think I would like it, but it added a lot of loft and smoothness to the yarn. Here's a close up of the brown with the Ingeo.

So, I decided today to add some of my own pizazz to my spinning. I had a turquoise single ply that I had handspun, and also a darker blue single. I decided to try a three ply yarn by plying those two singles with a commercial yarn by the name of "Featherwisp" in the "seasprite" colour. The Featherwisp is 100% nylon and has a sort of fluffy or hairy appearance, and has a tiny narrow ribbon running through it. I really like the way this yarn came out in the end. It's 2/3 handspun, and all hand plied.

Here is my "lazy kate" which is used for the plying.

Here's the start of my new yarn....
...and the end!
I set the twist in hot water and it's now outside drying. If the humidity keeps up, it might take a week!


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Such pretty colors and unique textures. I love your creativity.
I need to go get cracking with my own wool and get it hand carded and spun. I'm a long way off from all the fun mixing and blending you are doing. I love that it seems that most everything is doable.

I can't wait to see what else you create, too.


Lola Nova said...

It is so much fun to see all the different yarns that you are making. There must be so many exciting things to try. I still say you are a natural! How are you liking your new gadget?

I just got a new 'foot' for my sewing machine to try free motion quilting, looks like it might take some practice but, I'm looking forward to giving it a try.

Nancy K. said...

Good for you! You've inspired me to get out some roving and start spinning...

Karen said...

Beautiful yarn! Where did you get your ingeo fiber? I've been trying to locate some but haven't had any luck.

Claire said...

Thank you Lisa! I'm having so much fun creating, it's addictive!

Lola - I can't wait to see what you do with the freeform quilting foot. That will no doubt be spectacular. Watch for an upcoming blog post on the new gadget!!

Nancy - great! Post the results!

Karen - Paradise fibers has undyed ingeo roving here:
The class that I took supplied all the materials so I don't know where she got it.

Anonymous said...

What a fun class!!! Was it an all day class? I love adding flash and you are right, it doesn't photograph well. Your 3-ply yarn is very pretty.

Claire said...

It was a 4 hour class, which is 1 reason why it took me so long to blog about! I had to finish up with my hand carding and spinning at home!

Handmade Sunshine said...

I've been spinning for almost a year now and still haven't branched out into combining my own fibers. You've inspired me to drag out some of the old stash and see what I can come up with too. Way to go girl! Your yarn is lovely by the way.

Apifera Farm said...


Farm Chick Paula said...

Those are beautiful, Claire!