Thursday, October 15, 2009
I often try to sneak the Spindler's Challenge in as some other fiber-project I'm doing for another reason. That works out well enough, but sometimes it just feels like a cheat not to give the challenge its own attention. I like to stretch myself by trying out some new technique each month for the Challenge spinning, because that puts my own little twist on it. Har. Har. This month I decided to go back to that personal promise.
I had plenty of bits of roving that caught these colors individually, but I wanted to have a more subtle variation like the play of light through the glass. I've also been reading lately about blending colors through the use of hand cards. So I thought I would tackle a whole bunch of different ideas at the same time.
The first thing I did was divide the roving into lots of small pieces. I jumbled these up and then picked out a few at a time and loaded them onto my student hand cards (which I still have from my very first spinning class about four years ago). I transferred all the loaded fibers from one paddle to the other. This does a couple of things. Commercially combed top is a preparation of fiber where everything is lined up parallel, and is rather compact. Carded batts jumble all the fibers together, criss-crossing in a lot of places. It also allows a lot of air in between everything. A batt is fluffy. I pulled the fibers off and carded them again until I had an even batt on one carder, and then carefully pulled that off and rolled it up for safe-keeping.
Then I spun these batts. My second challenge to myself lately has been to spin long-draw. I'm a pretty self-controlling person and short-draw suits that style much better. You always have control over the fiber when spinning with a short-draw. With long-draw, you have to back off a bit and trust the twist and friction to do their job, too. As you get better at it, it's pretty fascinating to watch the twist grab just the right amount of fiber and pull it into the growing strand. You have to let just enough more twist in to keep that going. Too much, and you get a sudden thick spot in your spinning. Too little and it all falls apart.