Spinning the Aster yarn taught me a couple of lessons.
1. I need to spend more time studying color theory.
2. It doesn’t take much messing around to screw up a good thing.
The long color repeats of the Aster fiber lent themselves perfectly to a spinning/plying technique I wanted to try called Fractal Spinning (check out this great article describing it in more detail on Knittyspin). The structured color repeats on the Aster merino would, I thought, lend themselves perfectly to the fractal method, so off I went to spin the first half in long color sections.
That worked perfectly, and as I prepared myself to spin the other half in shorter, chirpier repeats, I got a little to big for my own britches.
Charmed by my color success with adding a ply of gold to the bright Glacees fiber for the 3-ply experiment, I decided to “tone down” the saturated Aster fiber by throwing in some undyed white merino I had in the stash. I didn’t want any stretches of white stitches in the yarn – I knew that much – so I just tore off a handful of white and every once in a while jammed a tuft against the Aster roving to attempt a marl ply.
Well, sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. At all. Who knew – (well, probably everyone but me) – that these two rovings were of different microns, staple lengths, and packed densities. The Aster fiber drafted easily. The white merino drafted like cement. The result – about 80% of the times I added the white fiber, I had either Aster or White… rarely marl.
Oh well, live and learn. I treadled on.
But as I spun and watched the bobbin fill, I got that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that happens when I am pretty sure I’ve messed too much with something.
Turns out, the white fiber didn’t really lighten things up. It just stood out. The colors of the Aster were too saturated, and the white just plunked against it. It looked to my eyes the way it feels when you are riding in your high-school boyfriend’s manual transmission and the gears clunk into place every time he shifts.
Yarn color whiplash.
But I am stubborn (and what’s more, I needed those bobbins since they’re for the new Lendrum and I have just three of them) so I went on and plied the long and short color runs.
Turned out OK, but not what I’d hoped.
I’m chalking this up as a lesson learned, particularly for me to quit trying to manhandle my fiber colors and be a little more planful and to spend better time in preparation.
On to the next one, should be off the bobbins by the weekend. Pictures to come!