Dear Spinning Circle,
Each month, I release Spinning Purls, which is the teaching content that those who are Patrons of the community enjoy! Released on the first Thursday of each month is an accompanying PDF download for those Co-Executive Producers of the show – it is an opportunity to read what is coming in the Spinning Purls Vlog for the month, see extra photos and often, charts, tables and graphics to accompany the content for the month.
At the same time, this year, we were studying the sheep breed, Radnor! Katrina Stewart of Crafty Jaks Boutique had created an amazing study for us to engage in for the year – she really outdid herself this year!
For the initial part of this series, please check out Part I here
The Wool n’ Spinning Community took this study by storm and I had the pleasure of sharing many of your yarns, projects and makes on the podcast throughout the year, including Seussarian socks, combination spun and plied yarns, beautiful chain-ply and more.
I took my time with this study, starting slow and figuring out what I wanted to do with it. There were a few guiding principles – I wanted to maximise yardage for something woven and showcase the two analogous colourways as best as possible. From September 2022 – December 2022, I wrote and recorded Spinning Purls about my journey through this study, including information about the Welsh breed, mostly isolated in it’s breeding program for many generations due to geographical location, spinning this yarn and finally, weaving beatuiful overshot scarves.
Here is an excerpt from October’s Spinning Purls:
Spinning Purls (October 2022): Spinning Complementary Colours
Complements, Tints, Shades & Shades
On a colour wheel, complements lie at 180 degrees, across from each other (Menz, 2004). What is so interesting about complementary pairs is that the colours themselves contain all of the primary colours. As soon as you have all three primary colours represented, there is a certain intensification of the colour. By adding things like tints, tones and shades, one can change the relationship of the colours to one’s satisfaction and taste. In the case of this study, both the red-orange-pink and blue-green contain some tints and shades. Some of this is lost in the batt and if one is to re-card and re-prepare this fibre, much of that will be lost as the more one re-cards and blends, the more blurred the contrasts will be.
I’ve talked about using the Breed & Colour Study as an educational tool in the past and I see myself playing with this as a learning tool. These aren’t exactly my colours – my instinct would be to place the red-orange-pink with a grey to create a more neutral piece and the blue-green with a yellow-green or ochre yellow to really set one another off. I have included some yarn wrappings with both to help you see how the colours change when placed next to each other versus against tints (ex. White) and tones (ex. Grey). When the colours are placed next to white, they brighten and placed next to grey, they dull and mute. Placed with a shade (ex. Black), both of these yarns just intensify and brighten. For those who love that contrast, it is striking! This is a very helpful exercise, even if you are not a weaver. What better way to learn about colour than to place the colours next to one another on a wrapping or in weaving, this is called a reeling.
The idea to place these next to each other in a weaving, particularly in the Turned Twill idea that I’ve had, will create a certain intensity between the colours that might be overwhelming for someone like me, who tends to lean towards the neutrals. The reason for these studies, though, is to learn so this will be a sample for me that shows complements, warp and weft-faced fabric, and weaving with handspun. First, though, I need to spin the singles so let’s discuss some ways we can break down a batt and go from there.
Breaking Down a Batt
Breaking down a batt for those who’ve never done it before can be daunting. The preparation is beautiful, sometimes very textured and it can be intimidating! There are a few ways you can approach the batt and some of those ways, we covered in our content from the Charolais study. I’ve linked those videos in the Patreon post and here so that you can access them, especially if you’ve joined us since that content was released. Now is the time to go back and have a look! don’t worry, I’ll wait!
- How I Spin PDF – Charolais – Batt Breakdown Part II
- How I Spin Vlog: Charolais (Part II)
- Charolais (July 2020) – Batt Breakdown
- How I Spin Vlog: Charolais (Part I)
We’ve also covered other woollen preparations within the teaching content but there’s been so much overtime that I encourage you to look at the NEW index here that helps you navigate everything from over the years – remember we’ve been creating since 2016 so there’s many vlogs and PDF downloads that you access that you may have missed! In the index, scroll down to the heading CARDING specifically. There’s lots of content there for you to watch!
The batts that Katrina made for us for this study were particularly large – a full 4 ounces each for a lot of spinning fibre, time at the wheel and much to think about in our planning for a larger project.
Breaking down batt in the red Radnor!
I actually love breaking down and spinning batts. They are fluffy and fun to work with and I love that the yarn takes up less storage space than the batt itself! When batts are stored for a long period of time, they become compacted and lose that initial air that was the whole point of carding in the first place – to create an airy preparation! I try to spin them relatively soon after getting them, rather than letting them languish for too long.
For these batts, partly due to their size, I decided to unroll them and start at one end by pulling off strips but when I came to the end, I decided to literally turn the corner and pull the next strip off the batt by continuing on as if it were one length. This is very similar to making hand-pulled roving off the drumcarder – and mimics this procedure nicely without tying up your carder for a long time. You can just pull the batt off and when you’re ready to spin, you can make your roving later.
I continued to turn the corner throughout the whole batt, which let me tell you took a long time, and continued to pre-draft sections prior to finishing the whole thing. This was because the length of the fibre was getting too long – remember this is a full 4oz, so I thought it was best done in sections. After finishing the strips, I finished pre-drafting and then from that last drafted end, I rolled the roving into a ball to spin from the first end that I had started drafting from. The fibres are most aligned from that end and ready to spin!
If you are curious about what other Spinning Purls content you would have access to with joining, please have a look here. It’s pretty comprehansive! And of course, the major reason to join is the amazing community you would be accessing, which mostly takes place over on Slack. I hope to ‘see’ you over there!