One of the reasons I love spinning wool is that there are endless ways the spinner can create a unique yarn from a given length of fiber. Depending upon how I spin and ply a given piece of hand-dyed fiber, I can get many different effects.
When it came time to spin up the December offering of the roving of the month from Sunset Fibers, I decided to make a 2-ply yarn. I wanted the colors to mostly blend but to have a marled look. So I divided the fiber in half lengthwise and spun it up on my Ladybug, dividing the fiber between two bobbins and spinning the colors in the same order on each bobbin. The length of each color repeat naturally varies because of variations in the dyeing and splitting of the fiber, and because when it comes to spinning, I’m not a machine. My yarn varies in diameter, as any handspun yarn is going to do. I knew the color repeats would not match up exactly when being plied. That’s the reason I spun the fiber as I did.
I made a simple 2-ply, knowing that the colors would match up in some places, and not match up in other places. But I knew that for the most part, the yarn would match color for color, but not shade for shade. For example, there are stretches where both singles are green, but one is a light green and the other dark green. The resulting yarn was exactly what I expected.
I had a little bit of yarn left over on one of the bobbins, so I chain-plied it. Chain plying keeps the colors separate, and as you can see from this picture, the different methods of plying produce very different results.
It hardly seems possible that the big skein (2-ply) and the little skein (chain-plied) came not just from the same piece of combed top, but from the very same singles. But they did.
I love the endless possibilities of playing with hand-dyed fiber and a spinning wheel or spindle. 🙂