Let's Play: How To Spin It?

  "Sonia Delaunay, Rythme, 1938." Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

After a flurry of spinning for the Tour de Fleece (and warming up for Spinzilla in October!), I have been a very productive spinner lately. I’ve been pulling handpainted top out of my stash and making yarn like never before! I have, however, been in a rut.

Typically, I spin hand-dyed roving in one of three ways: Try to match up the colors in two- or three-ply; Navajo-ply to keep colors together; or wind off singles onto bobbins and just ply randomly. But when I spotted the custom colorway that SweetGeorgia dyed in collaboration with Jillian Moreno (inspired by the artwork of Sonia Delaunay), I had to have it–and I knew I wanted a new plan.

  The braid of yarn divided in halves, with one half divided again–ready to spin a fractal.

When we asked Jillian if she’d be interested in creating a custom colorway with SweetGeorgia, she leapt at the chance–she couldn’t think of anyone better to make her colorful vision come to life. We chose Bluefaced Leicester for the base for something that would be easy to spin, dye beautifully, and wear well–not to mention make for a nice break from the endless braids of Merino, which can be delightful but more commonplace (and often harder to spin).

  The fractal-spun SweetGeorgia braid has subtle stripes that play with color harmonies.

Spinning by the Dozen
Jillian’s video 12 Ways to Spin Handpainted Top includes a number of different ways of playing with color, and I decided to try fractal spinning. A fractal is a mathematical concept, a set that repeats itself on every scale. In spinning, a fractal is a striping yarn that stripes internally, created by pairing lengths of top in an original color pattern with lengths that have been split for smaller stripes.

I don’t think I’ve ever spun four ounces of fiber so fast, so eager was I to see how the colors would match up. And plying was great fun! It was immensely satisfying when the colors met up with themselves–the occasional green, purple, and yellow semisolid–but the complementary pairings of purple and yellow or red-orange and blue-green sang.

And I have eleven more ways to go!


Anne Merrow

Editor, Spin-Off Magazine

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