2 Aug 2013

Two Art Yarns (with Grannie Stacks) from One Batt -- Colour Matching

Because I often get different ideas for yarns as I put colours together for a batt, I enjoy carding a few batts with the same colours and then spinning a couple of my ideas to see how they'll turn out and compare.  I can never spin ALL my ideas, but maybe that's a good thing. 

Sometimes it's fun to start a story at the end, so here is what I got from this particular set of batt ideas.  One ply from each of these yarns has been spun from the same multicoloured batt.  I chose different colours for the second ply, creating two completely different looks:

If you look closely, you'll see that each of these yarns has intermittent "grannie stacks,"
or piled-up twists of yarn, throughout.  These add concentrated colour, texture,
and definition to the yarn, and they just make me happy.
I was in the mood for yellow/peach/orange/pink, and I assembled different wools from my dyed stash and combed and carded them up.  This is what I came up with -- I didn't use a whole lot of the darker orange, in the end.  I'm hoping the picture reveals not only the colour differences but suggests the texture differences as well.

Fibre includes Cormo, Corriedale, Mohair, Merino, Romney x Bluefaced Leicester,
Border Leicester x Bluefaced Leicester, Lincoln Longwool,
and a bit of BLFxSilk top that I had leftover from another project
All spun up into my first single, it came together something like this:

Naturally, and true to my general way of doing things, I next forgot to photograph my lovely assembly of purples from which I spun another single to ply with the first.  And a "single" or "singles," dear non-spinning friends,  is one single strand of yarn made from twisted together fibres as is, without wrapping anything around it, just on its own.  For this yarn, I'm taking two singles and twisting them together, or "plying" them, to make a two-ply yarn.

I did manage to remember to take a photo of me making the second single, though, and you can get some idea of the different purples that went into it from the carded batt I'm spinning from -- well maybe if you enlargen the pic by clicking on it.

Here are the two singles before plying.

This yarn -- my inspiration for the two yarns I'm talking
about now -- is from a previous blog entry,  
and you can find it in my Etsy shop HERE

What I decided to do was spin two-ply yarn with beehive grannie stacks, similar to the yarn on the right, but instead of those long even coils of colour, there would be stacked-up coils, and instead of using the multicoloured single for the stacks, I'd use the solid-coloured one.

So here I am plying the two singles, or twisting them together (in the opposite direction to that in which they were first spun).  I hold the two singles tautishly out ... 

... and then slide my hand up, allowing the wheel to twist them together.

After every three lengths of regular plying, I put in a grannie stack.  This is wrapping one ply (in this case, the purple one) around the other in the same small area, creating a little stack, and then continuing to ply normally.  So here I'm getting ready to make my stack, holding the purple single out to the side ...

... then I let the wheel spin it around in the same spot, angling my purple ply up and down a bit to spread out and stack the yarn.  I'm holding the other single way back with my other hand, because as I twist and wrap the purple single around the other single, the other single is untwisting, and if it untwists too much it will pull apart.  By holding it further back, I'm distributing the "untwist" over a greater length of yarn.

When I'm happy with my little grannie stack, I continue plying normally.  

Here it is on my spindle

My high-tech lazy kate is there on the floor.  A lazy kate is a contraption that holds your spindles
full of yarn and allows you to unwind them as you ply.  There are some
very gorgeous ones out there that you can buy.  This one is made from a cardboard box
with a couple knitting needles punched through the walls.  My spindles fit perfectly
on the needles.  The biggest trick is remembering WHERE the needles are when you want
to knit something with them.

And all finished.  The little stacks will make little purple shouts of colour in whatever it's used for.

You can see this in my Etsy shop HERE

For the second skein, I wanted to ply with yellows.  I used the same yellows that were in the multicoloured single - here they are again:

Carded into a batt and spun in the same way as the other yarn, this time with yellow grannie stacks, it came out like this:

This is also in my Etsy shop HERE

Changing the colour of the second single really makes a big difference in the overall look of the yarn.  If I'd had enough of those multicoloured batts, I would have plied another skein with peach/orange, and yet another with pinks.  Ah, so much to do, so little time...

Check it out in my Etsy shop

Check it out in my Etsy shop

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