I finished the last of the “true” down breeds that I intend to do for this study, as well as all of the Welsh breeds and Cheviots (both of which In Sheep’s Clothing classifies as “down type”). The next step is now all of the ones that F&FSB calls “other” but ISC classifies as “down type.” I have a feeling that ISC lumped a lot of things into that category that don’t really belong there (which I concluded after the Welsh breeds for the most part, which were pretty different from the down breeds), but I’ll reserve judgment until I spin my samples.
I have no idea when I will get to them though as I have been a busy spinner lately – just not busy doing the breed study project. First of all, I got myself a drum carder. And as part of that adventure, finally made some headway on my color project. I made this:
This is a 12-color wheel of dyed corriedale. I got one of those huge samplers of “New Zealand Carded Corriedale” from Paradise fibers, or maybe I got it from Mielke’s fiber. In any case I’ve dipped into it for a number of projects, though I really had a specific concept in mind and finally did it.
Essentially I first carded together like colors to make the basic colors on the color wheel. (I think I used all of the pastels for other projects though.) Then I did stuff to them. The first series, above, added a smidge of the split complementary colors into each little sample (about 1/3 oz each) to make a tweedy blend. I also carded samples that are toned with natural grey; with mixed dyed brown; and some are just left in their “pure” hue families. Each little sample can be made in an evening of spinning, a lot like my breed samples.
Why I like making little samples like this is a mystery to me, but honestly – I do enjoy it a lot. Eventually they will be made into a thing, but for now I am in it totally for the process.
Speaking of things, I also realized when I finished the Hampshire Down that my little box of leftover singles from this project was full. So I made a couple of skeins of yarn by simply plying some of my singles together.
I should really try to figure out which two fibers I used. I am pretty sure that one of them was the Beulah Speckle Face but no idea what the other one was. (Eta wrong! These are all cable plies! 2×2. With polled dorset & hampshire plied together, and then polled dorset & hampshire. The third little skein is polled dorset & hampshire only, plied together then back on itself. And I will never, ever do this again without taking notes … Three hours of detective work to try to sort that mystery out. Ugh!)
They didn’t really want to ply together, and you can see that in the yarn above. So this is kind of sucky yarn. BUT I am determined that it will nonetheless be a thing when it grows up. I will be making a lot of these mixed-fiber skeins eventually, and will probably dye them and maybe make an afghan out of them.
And the other big experimental small-skein project I have been working on is my Big Art Yarn Project (one of my friends calls it the BAYP). I did this for a couple of months this winter, and have a storage tub filled with little samples now. Here are some of them.There are lots more though.
An example of my favorite series is shown in the second photo. This was a set of boucles that I did using a method I devised myself. Essentially, it goes like this – make four plies (four different colors), all spun S (which is my default spin, backwards from most people I know). Then loosely ply three of them together (z). Then take the remaining single – it is the core – and ply the three-ply on it in the normal boucle method. I.e. ply S, which tightens the core; ply the 3-z-ply on it loosely and push up into loops. The 3 ply more or less unplies as you do that. And finally bind with some more of the core yarn, in the Z direction. What happens then is that the three-ply bumps open up into little loops, and the binder semi-smashes them down so that they make little boucle “bubbles.” The resulting yarn is almost like a chenille more than a boucle. It is very densely “fuzzy” and the loops are very small.
I am sure that I am not the first person to think to try this, but I haven’t seen another example elsewhere. I really like the effect.
I also did cables, crepes, spirals, some of each of these with thick & think yarn; autowraps; more standard boucles, with various fibers (wool, mohair, and alpaca); and some funky stuff like beehives, traps, & coccoons. Basically I went through all of my art yarn books and tried almost everything in there that I thought was within my skill range – though in some cases at the high end of my skill range. I pretty much suck at the funky constructions but they were fun to make and I will work on these again some time.
I expect this will become some sort of freeform crochet project. It is probably not enough for an afghan – but might be enough for a lap robe, or maybe even a wall hanging. The general concept I am thinking of is a bank of trees in the fall. So I plan to do crocheted arcs of textured yarn representing trees. No fancy stitches because the yarn is going to do all of the work here.
I love to spin so much that I can’t even begin to express it. There is so damn much to learn. The creative possibilities are endless.