I’ve been meaning to get this post up for months now, since most of the fiber that I’ll be spinning for the holidays has been dyed in the manner.
And promptly buried in the spare room behind a DJ rig. This is the story of my life, people.
Anyway, I discovered the joys of small batch kettle dyeing this summer-I mean, really small batch-things that can fit in canning jars.
This produces a very volatile roving with the potential for a huge amount of variation between batches-which begs the question, what do you do with fibers that have such a huge variation in coloring?
There are two main methods to spinning fibers dyed like this:
1. Roll with it.
Just grab the fiber and spin, white space and all. You’ll end up with what’s sometimes called a potluck style yarn which is fully one of a kind. All yarn spun with these types of rovings are going to be one of a kind, but this will really not be replicated. Pretty much ever. You might end up with a lot of white space in your yarn-so I would recommend plying it back onto itself with either a center pull ball for a 2 ply or a chain ply for a three ply. It’ll barber pole, but you’ll avoid having huge splotches of white/undyed fiber.
2. Create a spinning plan
The fiber pictured above is all very small batch Koolaide dyed fibers. I alternate each fiber, I believe there’s seven or eight total, and is called Hawthorne. I have a system where I alternate in a big circle, switching out the wool about once every five minutes. It is then plied back onto itself for a 2 ply.
There are undoutably more options to spinning small batch fibers than this, but these are the two that I default to most often.