Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spinning Project

Last night I had a flash of inspiration and ran with it! For my self-imposed Maryland Sheep and Wool project, I decided to spin up this braid of Falkland wool from Into The Whirled:

ITW blue

But how to do it--that's the trick. With spinning, the options are numerous. 

I remembered reading a friend's blog post about creating a gradient from a braid utilizing handcarders. She includes some great links, including this one, which was my tutor for making good use of some handcarders I have on an indefinite loan from a dear friend. 

I jumped to it.
When I unbraided the fiber, I noticed that the color sections were short and didn't seem to follow any pattern. I tried unsuccessfully to find a color repeat. 

Cerulean Dream Fiber

Next, I began fluffing out the fiber by teasing its thickness out, then pulling tufts off the end and separating them into piles according to color. I chose to follow the color progression in the fiber, which placed turquoise at one end of the spectrum and dark blue at the other. As you can see, the staple length of the fibers meant that it was difficult at times to get a pure color.

Cerulean Fluff 

Next, I spent probably the next forty minutes carding everything into lovely rolags. The first couple were awkward, but I rewatched the video and became a bit more confident. It was exciting to see the colors blending as I carded them.


Speaking of color blending, I think it's fair to use this as a learning point. You may notice that the photo in my blog's header shows some rolags that have some very distinct colors. Why are they different?


The answer lies in how they are created. The rolags pictured here have been dubbed "pseudorolags," since they are not carded at all. To create them, I pulled very small tufts of fluff from the ends different color sections of a dyed braid, then layered them on the table and rolled them up using a couple chopsticks.  By contrast, the process of carding blends the fibers as I 'brush' everything together.

I'm rather excited to see how it turns out! I am thinking it would be nice to wheel-spin a fingering/sport-weight gradient that I could knit up as a lace shawlette. If I felt more confident with my rolags, I'd use my tried-and true spindle chain-ply to keep the colors separate; as it is, I think I will use the wheel and leave it as a single ply yarn.

Cerulean Rolags

Cerulean Rolags


  1. I never would have thought to do this, but the resulting rolags are incredible! I must invest in some hand cards one day. Are you going to spin them long-draw?

  2. I can't wait to see this gradient spun! Gorgeous colors!

  3. it's all Greek to me (every time I get to 'rolag' I read it 'eggroll'!)

    although I know not of what you speak, what I see is really pretty!

  4. I'm glad to see you dove into spinning! I bought some carders when I picked up my bulky plyer and have a braid like this I want to card into it's color gradients, thanks for the inspiration!