Adventures in Blending Fiber

Adventures in Blending Fiber

By Benjamin Krudwig

Recently, I watched the Deb Menz videos on blending fiber to achieve different colors, and have since been blending fibers together just to see what will happen. I received some Americana fiber from Louet in colors I don't normally use. With my background in studio arts, I have a pretty good grasp of color mixing. However, it is always an adventure when it comes to blending colors in fiber.

roving colors

I carded the roving together, and got a roughly blended batt of a mottled purple. I spun a sample to see if I liked it. For me, the color was still too red, and not blended enough. I also found the resulting yarn to be a little pale.

first blend batt

yarn from first blend


I searched my fiber stash to see what I could do, and found some black alpaca and maroon corriedale. I knew these fibers would darken the tone and make it more of a jewel color. At this point, I decided a little bit of sparkle fiber, also from Louet, would do the trick of elevating the fiber from mediocre, to elegant and stunning.

By the time I finished, I'd carded the fiber a total of four times. Once in the beginning with just the original roving, a second time with the new colors added in, then I split the batts and carded to fully homogenize the fiber two more times.

final blend batt
I spun another sample just to make sure I liked the finished product. I loved the result, so I continued with the spinning process. I had just recently received a Schacht Reeves wheel when I finished carding the fiber, which inspired me to attempt spinning my very first laceweight yarn.

yarn from final blend

Once I'd spun half of the batts, I plied the singles for a 2-ply yarn and ended up with over 450 yards of lace weight yarn. The finished yarn was highly energetic with a lot of twist. After spending as much time as I had, I decided I should swatch to accurately decide what medium I would choose for the final project.

After making my swatches I had pretty strong opinions about each medium.

The crochet swatch was too chunky feeling with a disorganized look.

crocheted swatch


The woven swatch was more organized, but the energy in the yarn caused the finished fabric to be crepe-like in nature, with a hint of crinkle. This could be fine for some uses, but it wasn't the look I was going for.

woven swatch


The knit swatch ended up being my favorite. It had the organization the crochet swatch lacked, and didn't have the tendency to crinkle when finished.

knitted swatch


Then I was off an knitting my lace shawl which I accented with silvery beads.

knitted shawlbead detail

I started the initial blending of the fiber on April 15th, and finished the shawl this last Friday. Overall I am very happy with the yarn and the resulting project. This experience allowed me to experiment with fiber and technique, and yet it all came out wonderfully. I hope this post inspires you to play around with blending.


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