Blending Colors at the Wheel by Amy Tyler

With the current multitude of fiber arts events and access to fibers on the Internet, it is an easy task to find wonderful fibers ready to spin. There are rovings, batts, and tops in a rainbow of colors, both solid and mixed. When I wander the vendor aisles at a fiber festival, I can’t help but purchase fiber. To minimize the effect on my pocketbook, I usually buy small amounts (4 to 8 ounces) of a given fiber, and thus my stash grows. The drawback of this approach is that I often find myself with not enough of a particular fiber to make a large project, such as a sweater.

Early in my spinning life, I had a spinning wheel but few other tools—no handcards, no combs, no drumcarder. Being so minimally equipped, I tried to extend my fiber stash by combining fibers without those tools. My process was simply to predraft two rovings or tops together. The benefits were many—I got greater amounts of yarn for larger projects; I got yarns that were unique because of my blending choices; and the resulting yarns produced very interesting textural effects in my knitting due to
various fiber and color blends. Blending at the wheel is a simple way to get interesting results that are not typically found in millspun yarns, and it is also a way of making several different but related yarns for a single project.

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