Rolags, Blending Boards and Textured Yarn Spinning

Rolags, Blending Boards and Textured Yarn Spinning

I made a new colorway on my blending board of my Rolag Hybrid. I am calling it Silver Gray Sparkles.

Silver Gray Sparkles is a smooth sparkling rolag batt. No locks or chunky bits….just tons of sparkle and various smooth fibers. My Rolag is a hybrid of a layered batt and rolag.

Silver Gray Sparkle Rolag

I layer my fibers on my blending board without packing them down into the blending board teeth. I use the dowels to roll up the rolag without drafting through the inner fibers. I only draft at the end of the roll to secure the rolag closed. It is best spun from the end in 2-4 inch rolled up sections pulled off the roll while still rolled up. Picture taking a BIG piece of a jelly roll cake…but still rolled up. I have found sections larger than that a bit much to handle in my hand. If temperatures or humidity is high, there is a risk of felting that is possible while holding a large rolag for a longer period of time.

On the blending board

I let the rolag sit for a while trying to decide if I wanted to spin, felt or sell them. I decided to spin these all up this week into 2 large skeins. Each skein is a 2 ply and spiral plyed. Each skein has one of the plys as this silver gray sparkle rolag hybrid. It is a blend of numerous fibers such as Merino, Black Dyed Tussah Silk, Gotland, Masham, and White Firestar.

Each of the 2 yarns is one ply of the above rolag with the other ply being different in each skein. The lighter color skein was plyed with a 2 ply fine silk thread and done as an extreme spiral yarn. The darker skein was plyed with a handspun bamboo ply. Both skeins are a textured yarn with that homespun feel.

Dark skein
Light skein

I am a bit stunned how intensely different the two skeins look and feel. The darker skein with the bamboo ply is very heavy weight wise. And with so much bamboo in it, it took forever to dry! I have been staring at them for a while now trying to decide how to use them.

I need help. What do you think?

I really think I want to weave a wider scarf on my 16 inch rigid heddle loom. But past that I am stuck.

I think if I use one skein for weft and one for warp that the difference between the skeins will be lost.

So do I warp up with :

1. A white warp and weave strips?

2. A white warp and weave 2 separate scarves?

3. A white warp and weave 2 scarves alternating both skeins and afterwards seam 2 scarves together and make a shawl?

4. A white warp and weave 2 scarves with just one skein in each. So have a light and dark scarves than seam those into a shawl??

5. A dark warp and than where the heck do I go?

6. Just keep staring at them and weave nothing?

See why I need help?? Comment below your thoughts.

Wild Flower Textured Yarn Now in the Shop

Wild Flower Textured Yarn Now in the Shop

I just listed a new art yarn colorway in the shop. I have been working on this colorway for a while now.

Wild Flower Textured Art Yarn

The inspiration of this homespun yarn was a giveaway in honor of Honey bees and Beekeepers. It reminded me of the Wild Flowers that bees use to create honey.

On the spinning wheel

The dominant color through out the handspun yarn is honey, gold, and greens in various shades with small bits of yellow and orange. This represents the bees and their honey. There are pops of pink and white with a little pale purple and blues here and there to represent the wild flowers in a field.

Closer view of Wild Flower Textured Art Yarn

This yarn has so much texture and color. It is a Super Bulky weight, a textured yarn that is very workable on a set of needles for knitting and hooks for crochet. It would also be wonderful for use in textured weaving. I can picture this woven into a shawl, scarf or a wall hanging.

In fact, here is a scarf I wove using Honey color yarns that I dyed and a partial skein of this textured yarn. Look at the wonderful texture and contrast with the smooth lace weight yarns. So much fun.

Wild Flower Honey Art Yarn Scarf

Use it as the main art yarn in your piece or as an edging or accent for effect. Listed in the shop now and avaiable for purchase.

What is my favorite wheel to spin yarn?

What is my favorite wheel to spin yarn?

What is my favorite wheel for spinning yarn? Does it have to be one? It really does vary depending on what weight of yarn I want to spin, where I want to spin, and what will be happening around me.

Goddess ready to spin fluff and fiber

I was asked recently what wheel was my favorite so far after embarking on a major test driving of many different wheels with various types of tension systems. I replied this:

It really depends WHAT I am spinning, WHY, and WHERE.

Art yarn production….hands down Ashford JUMBO E spinner.

Ashford JUMBO E Spinner

Demo out in public for a festival where I am spinning locks for a long time, stopping and starting a lot…..Ashford Country Spinner 1. CS1.

Ashford Country Spinner 1 at a demo festival

Putzy for fun on my own or a spin circle locally for an hour or 2…bulky to thin….a vintage Louet.

Vintage Louet S70

Putzy but feeling funky and weird…spinning for an hour or 2….Moswolt M1. Medium to Bulky.

Moswolt M1

Hanging at home and spinning super fine…I prefer a supported spindle.

Goddess, nostepin, and companion

So what weight of yarn, where you want to spin, as in carry or move it far, all that does matter.

The single most common thing of all these wheels is that they are all simple tension and 1 or 2 speeds. Bobbin led or Irish tension for all of them.

Lockspinning on a Ashford CS1

If you want to spin most all weights of yarn but probably won’t do production yarn spinning, still want a portable wheel and don’t require bobbins to hold 2-3 pds of fiber at once….. You will need a versatile wheel.

If you do want to spin both fine and bulky capabilities…. I think I would suggest a Louet. If you are like me and prefer antiques or traditional looking wheels, try hunting for an older style. Maybe you would like a Louet S70 as much as I do.

Vintage Louet S70

A Louet is the most versatile out of the box with no extras wheel. Simple tensioning, uncomplicated wheels, accessories to spin fine or bulky if you want more past their regular accessories, and still portable and sturdy.

Most important….a Louet will NOT break the bank while you are learning and are easy enough to even pick up second hand. Parts are easy to get and not very many working parts to break to start with.

I am not a distributor for any dealer, so my suggestions are based on spinning a lot of wheels and seeing many comments of other people about their wheels and frustrations they have while spinning.

All of those wheels, I just sit down and spin without much fuss. Just how I like it.

Mozzie, the Moswolt M1 Spinning Wheel

Mozzie, the Moswolt M1 Spinning Wheel

Last week I test drove a unique old artisan spinning wheel. A Moswolt M1 Spinning Wheel. Meet Mozzie…..

Moswolt M1 Spinning Wheel

Mozzie is a bit clunkity and talks and chatters, but he is a workhorse beast. It is the first single treadle wheel I have ever owned. He has one speed ratio of about a 4:1. His orifice is a half inch and my lockspun bulky yarn just slide right on through. The flyer has hooks all down each side and surprisingly my lock spun yarn rarely caught on any hooks. It seems one does not HAVE TO HAVE a giant orifice or sliding ring guides to spin bulky lockspun yarn. One has to have smooth hooks with no burrs or sharp bits.

Big bobbin

His bobbins are super big, holding approximately 10-12 ounces of yarn. The take up is strong and most times I spun with the brake off. Even at this slow ratio, I was able to do a modified backwards long draw down to a rather fine yarn. It felt faster than my Country Spinner 1 which is also a 4:1 ratio. I was able lockspin finer and backdraft long draw, which I just don’t seem to be able to do on my CS1. So being all things equal ratio wise, I have no idea why I can spin fine on Mozzie. I guess he did not read the spinning book rules and has his own ideas.

Mozzie Art Yarn

Mozzie really shines doing a 5 Bulky Art Yarn. The strong takeup creates a bulky weight lockspun art yarn quickly. I spun up a bobbin of my favorite locks and than thread plyed them off with a lace weight angora yarn. I had approximately 69-70 yards of Mozzie Spiral Art Yarn. Not too bad for a first Art Yarn skein.

Mozzie Textured Lockspun Art Yarn