Spinning Gradients and Ombrés

Esther Rodgers

Esther Rodgers

Gradients and ombrés are all the rage these days—from cascading tresses to yarn. One way to achieve these looks is by dyeing the finished yarn or spinning top dyed in a sequence. But we spinners love our tools! If you are unfamiliar with how to create gradients and ombrés using a drumcarder, hackle, or a blending board, meet Esther Rodgers, an expert at blending these fashionable fibers.

A basket of ombrés and gradients.

A basket of ombrés and gradients.

First off, a little color theory . . .

Esther explains that an ombré is a progression that goes from light to dark. Its value changes by adding increasing amounts of white to a color to get lighter and adding black to a color to get darker. The bottom two color sequences in the image above are ombrés. On the other hand, a gradient is also a color progression, but instead it transitions from one color to another, usually from one Side of the color wheel to the other, or by adding gray. The top two color sequences in the photo above are gradients.

Diz fiber off of your drumcarder.

Diz fiber off of your drumcarder.

Diz your carded prep!

My favorite trick from Esther’s video Card Wool for Color: How to Spin Gradients, Ombres, Fractals, and Self-Striping Yarns is to diz off the drumcarder. The humble diz is a tool usually associated with combing fibers. She demonstrates how to create a long color sequence by peeling the fiber off the drumcarder like you would when peeling an apple. She even uses the diz on a blending board, moving across the surface from right to left and creating shorter color segments.

Whether you play around with solid colored fiber or break up handpainted braids and bumps, combining colors with a drumcarder, blending board, and hackle will add a new dimension to your prep. The possibilities are endless!

Happy Spinning!
Elizabeth

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