You’re at the fiber show, and you see a braid of fiber that has to come home with you. You get it home and look at it and realize you don’t know what to do with this beautifully dyed variegated fiber. You turn to recent videos by Jillian Moreno, 12 Ways to Spin Handpainted Top, and 12 (Plus!) Ways to Spin Batts, for a great deal of help and a wealth of wonderful ideas. Pair those ideas with the Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs by Sarah Anderson and your yarn creation will be unstoppable.
For this fiber collaboration, we paired with October House, an indie dyer based out of Hot Springs, Arkansas. We were drawn to her stunning and elegant colorways in both her yarns and her fibers. The color shown here is called Terrarium, and was dyed on her Polwarth Combed Top in a generous 4.45 oz braid. This colorway has stunning greens and burgundies and a hint of purple. I wanted to showcase the colors of the braid, but I also wanted to play with blending.
To spin this yarn you will need:
Tip: Try to find something that has a few coordinating colors in it as opposed to a braid with lots of very different colors. This will aid in getting a less muddy blend in the end.
Carders: I used a pair of Schacht Medium (72 PSI) Carders.
Optional but highly recommended: A tensioned Lazy Kate.
First, split your braid in half lengthwise.
Set one half aside.
Split the remaining fiber again into two smaller halves.
With each of those small halves, start blending the fiber together using your carders. I did an initial 2-3 passes, then split those resulting mini batts up and carded them together with other batts to achieve a more homogenous mixture.
Set aside until it’s time to spin.
With the uncarded fiber, split it into fourths and spin them end to end in the S direction, making a thicker single. This technique keeps the colors more vivid as there is less color mixing than if you spin from the large bunch of fiber.
With one of the piles of carded fiber, spin thin singles in the S direction.
Ply these two singles together in the Z direction, adding a little extra twist.
With the remaining pile of carded fiber, spin thin singles in the Z direction.
Ply this single with your two-ply in the S direction. When you have the right amount of twist in your final yarn, you will see a nice criss-crossing of the thin singles with the thicker single trapped in between.
For more detailed instructions on how to spin a bubble crepe yarn, check out page 169 of the Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs.
The effect of the blended thin singles creates a lovely cohesion of color throughout the finished yarn, while the uncarded fiber creates pops of color. If you make any yarn based on a tutorial we’ve done, post it on social media and tag us! We love to see what you’ve created!
A little more about October House:
October House began with my knitting designs. In October 2013 we added hand dyed fiber, and we launched our Etsy shop. Shortly after, we began hand dyeing yarn and creating patterns for our yarns.
Our fibers are some of my favorite fibers to spin, and tend to be fine wools and luxury blends. Each October House yarn fills a need or a desire I had for a particular yarn. My knitting patterns tend to be those things I am looking to make or wear. I prefer simple over complicated, spare over fussy, and practical over complex.
Our yarns and fibers are gently hand dyed in small batches using all the care and love we can supply. Each skein or braid of fiber passes through our hands several times before heading out into the world, so you can be sure you are getting the best quality product we can provide. We ply our trade in our little home studio in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas.