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March 24, 2010

Shades of Red


These red braids are one of the first fibers in my now-decently-sized fiber collection - two braids of BFL/Silk in "Vamp" from Pigeonroof Studios. I was certain this deep red-colored fiber would translate to deep red yarn, and it sort of did, via a surprising route.

I decided to spin these 9 ounces into a 3-ply yarn. As an experiment, I referenced a new favorite commercial yarn, Spirit Trail Fiberworks Paivatar. I took a bit of that yarn, unplied it, and taped the paralel singles to an index card. This would be a way to check that my spun singles matched up in diameter.


There are lot more advanced calculations that can be done for spinning, like twists per inch and plies per inch. Through these calculations one could even hope to produce Paivatar's handspun twin. Maybe some day I will be a master of these calculations. For now, I am not ready for spinning math. I just matched the diameter, made a little 3ply sample with fresh singles along the way, and hoped for an even yarn.

One of my favorite parts of spinning hand-painted fibers is watching the colors change - they line up on the bobbins into neat stripes. What looked like solid red in the braids turned into stripes of maroon, rose, hot pink, and even light blue. hmmm, I suppose I am not getting solid red yarn after all. What would it look like plied?


Maroon. ish. Isn't it funny how such bright fiber turned into subdued yarn? I wonder if this is usually the case with spinning fiber. After all, there does seem to be a lot of super bright fiber out there. The colors in the plies remind me of Cascade 220 Quatro, where each ply is a different color. And overall it is pretty consistent - that little index card worked!


Yardage is 500 yards of about DK or worsted weight. The color could be right for a fall scarf. or, maybe a cowl and mitts. I just bought some classic-preppy cordovan loafers and this totally matches. I'll let it marinate in the stash until late summer and see how it looks then..

Comments (18)

How gorgeous! I love how that extravagantly gothic top turned into a sort of conservative yarn. I'm excited to see what you do this!


very pretty yarn! i think part of the color muting has to do with the plying. the more plies, the more the multi-colored strands blend, and the combination can sometimes be a lot different to the eye than the singles would be. (like red + a bit of blue = more of a reddish purple). i actually like the effect a lot of the time because it can take on a complex heathery look and isn't as garish as say, a barberpole 2ply.

I'm a new reader popping in to say hi!

I'm in love, deep and abiding love, with that roving and the finished yarn. Sweet jeebus it's gorgeous.

And as an experienced spinner and dyer, I can tell you that, yes, such dramatic shifts are common with fiber. What you see in the braid is only a guesstimate of what you'll see on the bobbin, which is nothing like what it'll appear when plied (unless you chain ply, and then it's close). I'm far more adventurous when I buy roving than when I buy yarn for that very reason.

Unfortunately, it can sometimes work in the reverse when it comes to happy factor. You may love the braid and hate the muddied or dull plied yarn in the end. It's all part of the adventure and one of the best parts about spinning.

Another lovely skein of handspun from you. It's gorgeous.

It's a beautiful yarn! You're right, the color looks more subdued spun up than it did in the braid... how curious.

Pretty! I'm a big fan of spinning thin, I find that the more pieces you strip a roving into, or the longer you draw, the more the subdues.

that yarn is just gorgeous. I love the subdued shades.
you are a spinning pro!


it turned out very pretty! I didn't know you did spinning too- very talented!


Beautiful yarn!!! Can't wait to see what it looks like when it's knit up.


so pretty! more adventures in spinning fun!

I've already said it, but it's gorgeous yarn. I'm curious about the fiber color to yarn color relationship, but I guess experience will tell us more about how that works. Talia had an interesting point about color last night. She said you need to think of fiber like quilting - you want some light, some medium, and some dark in your fiber or your finished yarn tends towards muddy. I guess I'll see how the Koala turns out since there's not a whole lot of tonal variation in that either.

Wow..those turned out really beautiful. I need to bust out my spinning wheel again. I wouldn't necessarily say the yarn is subdued but I do think it looks very rich (on my monitor) and I think that the three ply really accentuates that play in color from light to dark. Anyway..I like it...

Who knew? I was looking for information on Päivätär for a pattern I'm writing and came across your blog! Your spinning is gorgeous and I SO covet your woodsman's gloves. Keep up the lovely work!

at CraftLit.com


Hi, stopped by to see your blog after you left a comment. WHOA, Nellie your spinning is really gorgeous. Starting with this red 3ply skein. NICE. I like the experiment, too. I'll give that one a try. Thanks for stopping...Lisa

This is gorrrgeous! I can't wait until we move so I can have room to spin again. We are actually looking to move to your neck of the woods, but it won't be until next fall, I think. Probably west of the Hudson.

And I don't know if you remember me, but I used to follow your blog before the great computer crash of '08. I lost all my good knitting links! I'm on Twitter and I'm following you there also. :)

This is incredibly beautiful! What a great shade...!

How lovely! I will learn to spin - someday...

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