Saturday, March 22, 2014

Three new things I've learnt

29-03-2014  Edited to say that since writing this post I have discovered BFL tops which are incredibly easy to draft and spin so what I wrote below is more about merino tops which, in the plaits which I had endeavoured to spin, there was a measure of felting which made drafting very hard on my thumbs.

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I have spend a lot of time over the last few days spinning my first two plaits of hand-painted tops and it has been rather a steep learning curve.

There are three things which I have discovered which will, hopefully, stand me in good stead:

1.  Ruthlessly strip the plait down to its smallest strips.  I have found that there are usually six divisions which any plait (or any top) can be stripped into.  For some reason, which defies all the laws of physics, the narrower the strip the more discreet is the colour .  Unstripped, all the other colours in the plait seem to intrude and spin together so that there is very little pure colour.

2.  Predraft the strips very gently until the are loose enough to float.  This makes for faster, easier spinning and is not so hard on your drafting hand.  It doesn't matter if the top breaks during drafting  - it is easy to join up when you spin it.  Just match it colour for colour with the already spun yarn and it will all meld in perfectly.

3.  Choose plaits which represent only one side of the spectrum.  Red and green spun together will give you brown.  Keep them away from each other.  There are only three colours; red, yellow and blue.  Mix all three together and you will always end up with brown.  As separate strands when plying they can look very good but avoid mixing them in a single.

There will be people who disagree with me on these three points and as I become more experienced in dealing with colour I could very well change my tune but having almost finished spinning my first two plaits I will be following my new rules for the spinning of the second two.  When the two skeins have been plied I will compare them and see if I am right or not.

I might even post pictures.

Edited to post picture.  Click on picture to enlarge ...

The lower bobbin was spun 'across the top' and the top bobbin was stripped.  The colours in the top bobbin are clearer although, in the cold light of morning I rather like the 'across the top' bobbin.

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