Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fractal Spinning

Ever since January when I dusted off my spinning wheel, I've been producing 1 or 2 skeins of yarn per month. As a relatively new spinner, I focused a lot on technique--mainly spinning thin, non-lumpy singles. Spinning almost 800 yards of lace weight alpaca for the Ravelympics really helped me improve in this area.

With my general technique under control, I've been focusing on a new area--color. One way I've challenged myself in this area is to buy rovings with a range or combination of colors aren't in my typical color palette. In addition to all of the beauty inherent in these handdyed rovings, the fiber preparation and the method of plying can have a huge effect on color variations in the final product. For the two skeins shown here, I prepped and spun using a technique called fractal spinning.

Generally, fractal spinning refers to a 2-ply yarn where one of the plies has one long repeat of the color sequence while the other ply has several shorter color repeats. This is achieved by splitting the roving in half along its length and spinning the first ply from one portion. The second half of the roving is then split along its length 4 to 8 more times; these small portions are then spun one after another while maintaining the same color ordering. The two singles are then plied together, giving a balance of slow and fast color variation in the final skein.

It is hard to gauge exactly how my fractal spun yarn will look in the final knitted object by just looking at photos of the skeins. But the long color sections in the first roving will certainly produce more distinct stripes than from the short color sections in the second roving. I'm actually quite curious to see if the fractal spinning with be apparent in the skein below or if the color will just look well varied. Only one way to find out!

And if you are curious to know, the first roving/skein is superwash BFL in the 'Ooh-La-La-Tropi-Cal' colorway (February club fiber) from Spunky Eclectic. The second roving/skein is BFL swirl in the 'Athena' colorway from Sheepish Creations. I can't wait to see how they both look knit up!


Charlotte kaae said...

yummi it looks so so nice, good spinning job.

Bobbi said...

Beautiful yarns! Fractal spinning sounds really interesting.

ChelleC said...

I find that concept of Fractual Spinning very interesting. I like your first roving that you spun fractually much better than the second. Don't get me wrong, both are beautiful, but I can see how the first is much more like the roving itself than the second, which seems more color jumbled. Great job! I just took a class in this Fractual Spinning at a fiber fest last weekend.