Thursday, 16 January 2014

The Steadfast Hand......

Back before Christmas Interweave had a sale and I bought three instructional DVDs, just so I would have something to watch during the dark days in January! Or that is my excuse and I'm sticking to that!

Two were with Deb Menz - Colour and Yarn Design for Spinners and Colour Work for Spinners, were on colour blending and supplement her book Colour Works The Crafter's Guide to Colour which I have found very useful in the past, plus they were at a bargain price of $5.99 each - so not to be missed

The other was the Gentle Art of Plying with Judith MacKenzie.  The blurb says 'Plying is not an afterthought. Its your gateway into the vast world of yarn design'.  Thinking back to when I learnt to spin plying wasn't given that much attention, in fact it was suggest that now you have mastered the hard part - spinning a single - plying was the fun part!

Not so, there is far more to plying than simply twisting two (or more) singles together............  Judith actually shows how to make a 5ply yarn, but I haven't tried that as yet!

Judith's method requires a steadfast hand - this hand (in my case my right hand) does not move, it does exactly what it says - it stays still and controlling the singles as they are drawn from the Kate and keeping both with the same amount of tension -  while the other hand (my left) controls the amount of twist - and it works!  Not that I am saying that my yarns were wrongly plied in the past, but since using this method my yarns are so much better! So I can't recommend this DVD enough, if you get a chance of it at a bargain price or even at the current asking price of $20 - go for it!

This yarn is made from Spelsau fibre - Southern Cross Fibre's December coordinate in Cabernet - plied with the steadfast method............ 

I have also made good use of the DVD's on working with colour.  Back when the sun shone I experimented dyeing silks with Elderberries and was suprised how the dye took differently on Mulberry and Tussah silk.  Tussah seems to have a much more subtle colour to the Mulberry, but that's by the by.

Mulberry Dyeing

As a result of this dyeing experiment I had several batches of dyed silk in 25 gram lots, not enough on their own, but if I thought that if I blended some merino top to match then perhaps I would get enough yarn for a shawl!  Plus I would get to play with my Blending Board.

Mulberry Dyed Bombyx Mori
This is what I wanted to match, so I played around with colours and came up with a blend of Lavender, Magenta and Amethyst

For the 25grams of silk I blended 40 grams of merino and spun two lots of singles.

These are spun singles, the blended merino is on the top bobbin and the silk on the lower one and I think that they are pretty well matched...........  Here is the finished yarn on the bobbin

and the skeined yarn approximately 415 yards of silk and merino yarn

Whisper Who Dares!
Next, some walnut dyed Tussah and another blend perhaps?



  1. I too bought 5 of those CD's when they were on sale for my Christmas and birthday present to myself. I will get the Gentle Art of Plying next time :-))

  2. You'll enjoy it - very informative!


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