Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Spinning for Tapestry Yarn Part 2

I started spinning yarns for tapestry weaving when I was designing Oberon's Mermaid.  I didn't have enough color variations in the type of yarns I needed but I had lots of fiber.  I started thinking about the most efficient way to spin yarns for this project and it occurred to me that instead of thinking in terms of spinning for a specific project I would start spinning to create a palette of yarns that I could use for just about anything I cared to do. I decided on a lace to fingering weight singles because I could then bundle a number of the singles together for a coarser sett or use less threads for a finer sett. Also, by bundling the singles I could get more color and shading effects with fewer colors to start out.

Once I got started I found I really enjoyed spinning yarns for tapestry because I didn't need thousands of yards of each color and I enjoyed the variety.  I ended up spinning 81 different yarns for Oberon's Mermaid with each hue represented by many tints ,tones and shades.  I found I could add a little glitz if I liked, take one dyed roving and add a little light, dark, warm or cool and come up with just the variations I needed.  I was smitten with the color play possibilities!  These first yarns were almost all prepared on the drum carder and spun worsted so the result was a semi worsted yarn.  Here is a picture of some of the yarns I made.  

Now I am ready to experiment a little further with spinning yarns for tapestry weaving.  My first yarns were spun from Corriedale and Romney Breeds and soon after I added Navaho Churro and Cotswald to the mix.  It is interesting to study how different sheep breeds have an effect on the finished wool and I would like to try a few more. The other thing that I would like to explore is wool combing.  I would like to compare using the drum carder preparation versus wool combing preparation.  Since I will be spinning all the samples worsted I will be getting a semi worsted with the drum carder or a worsted style yarn with the wool combing. Even though I have always used some plied yarns in my tapestry weaving I plan to use both singles and plied yarns in the sampler  so that I can study the difference.
 Last week I designed a sampler tapestry where I could explore these questions.  Each sheep in the tapestry will be a different breed and/or a different fiber preparation. This is a cute sheep picture with a purpose!  I plan to draw the cartoon on the cotton I will use to back the tapestry and write the "key" information about the sample in the drawn sheep.

As the sampler was being designed and I was starting to weave I began prepping some fiber samples for my sheep.  My first breed is Romney, a very reliable choice.  I made some drum carded samples, some flick carded samples and some combed samples all in singles and 2 ply and all spun worsted.  Here are some pictures of the wool combing adventure.

Placing the Locks in the Diz

Combing the Locks

After combing the locks I pulled them through the Diz.

Here they are ready to spin.

The sample skeins.

Lizzy is keeping an eye on the finished balls ready to weave into the sampler.

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