Friday, June 23, 2023

Spinning into Focus - A Round-up of All 10 Yarns


Last month, I shared the final two yarns in my Spinning into Focus series, demonstrating the two most popular methods used by spinners to avoid completely blending the colours in a multicoloured top together. My idea was that by the end of this blog series, I would have a sweater quantity of different yarns, all spun from the same multi-coloured, commercially available blended top - Slack Ma Girdle from John Arbon Textiles.  

The yarns all have varying levels of colour blending so that I can eventually knit a garment that has the colours appearing to come into focus as they work their way down, up, or across the garment.  The yarns are unquestionably complementary as they will all have the same primary colours at their base.

I rarely have the patience or attention span required to spin a sweater quantity of fibre, so dividing it up into lots of little spins has really helped to keep me motivated.

Well, I didn’t know how many different techniques I was going to use when I began, but I’ve finally finished spinning my original 700g of fibre into 10 different yarns -

And here they all are! From a distance, you get the impression that they’re all a warm autumnal brown colour…

… but when you get just a little bit closer you start to see those pops of colour more clearly.

The other reason I love this approach to spinning a multi-coloured blended top is that it satisfies the dual sides of my personal taste -  

When it comes to spinning yarns, I would much rather spin a glorious array of ever-changing colour that holds my attention and keeps me interested; however, when it comes to my fashion choices, I'm much more reserved.  By spinning the yarns into focus, I have a range of coloured yarns that go from an understated, neutral to a colourful statement yarn, and all of the possibilities in between.  It has been such a satisfying project!

In the images below you can see that I’ve hand wound all of my yarns into nostepinne style balls as I think this is one of the best ways of showing the length of the different colour sections within a variegated yarn.

The following is a rundown of all the techniques I used in this blog series and their accompanying videos.  Click on the heading to read more about how the yarns were spun.

There’s also a rundown of all 10 yarns in video form here -

Technique 1: Drum Carding for a Homogeneous Blend.

The Wildcards 

Called such because they don’t really fit into the pattern of the colour sections becoming progressively longer and less muddy with each yarn. The first has much longer colour sections but the colours are quite muted, and the second has the brightest colours of all the yarns, but also the shortest colour sections.


Well, I normally find swatch knitting very tedious but I don’t think I’ve ever been so motivated to knit up a square of handspun yarn -

Here are all 10 yarns knitted into focus.  I knitted 4 rows of each yarn, apart from the final spun from the fold yarn at the bottom which is also carried through to the garter stitch bottom edging.  It really is the busiest and most colourful of yarns so I’m still a little undecided as to whether I will include it in my final garment…

As an aside, while I was spinning all of my different yarns, I designed some yarn tags so that I could easily keep track of which technique I'd used with which yarn.  I designed them to fit on the back of my printable handspun yarn labels.  I can see them coming in handy for sampling small amounts of fibre before going on to spin for a larger project.  I will definitely be using them a lot in the future.

The yarn geek in me also couldn’t resist making these little Spinning into Focus WPI tags to record my project.  It feels like it’s been such a worthwhile exercise and I wanted to have a reference to look back on after I’ve knitted up all of my yarn.

I'll probably share the printables in a future blog post soon.  I don't imagine many spinners will want to spin all 10 techniques but a few of my Instagram spinning friends have said that they’d like to try spinning into focus on a smaller scale so hopefully they’ll come in useful.

Thank you so much for coming along with me on my Spinning into Focus journey.  I’ve had so many lovely comments about this spinning series and I’ve been so very grateful to all the spinners cheering me on along the way.  I’ve had a blast!

If you’ve enjoyed this post or found any of this series useful, please pin it to Pinterest.  It really makes a big difference to me and helps other spinners find it too.

At this point, I normally suggest similar related blog posts, however, my list of spinning-related content is becoming a little unmanageable...  If you'd like to read more blog posts about spinning and fibre preparation, please take a look at this page here where you will find links to all of my spinning and fibre articles.  

Thank you for reading, and happy spinning! 

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