My Karaoke Rainbow is spun! I decided at the midway point not to make the standard two ply marbled yarn but to go with handspinning a fractal yarn. Fractal spinning is how I turned this hot mess of color into this (WIP) scarf.
It doesn’t require any special spinning skills at all. In fact, its all in how you prep the fiber.
(For all my non-spinners out there, I hope to inspire much envy in you with this post. So much that you just say “Ah screw it” and go get a drop spindle and some roving!)
A fractal is a pattern that repeats no matter how far you zoom in or zoom out. Its a pattern within a pattern. The Fractal Foundation has this neat little gif that sums it all up. But don’t look for too long.
So what does that mean for handspinners? It means that you spin one ply to be a long color repeat and a second ply to be a short color repeat. Then you ply those two together. The first ply is (say for example) Color A-Color B- Color C in loooooooog stretches. Think Noro Kureyon. The second ply is the same sequence of Color-A-Color B-Color C but in much shorter stretches. Think any variegated hand dye. Its the same color pattern just at different scales, like those triangles up there that are making me dizzy.
Let me put some white space in here.
There. That’s better.
Handspinning a Fractal Yarn
1) I split the roving lengthwise and put each half into a kitty-proof container.
2) Then I took one half and spun it up. It has to be spun worsted. (That’s worsted style, not worsted weight.) Hold the roving so that the fibers are inline with the draw. If you spin woolen, with the fibers perpendicular to the draw, the colors will blend and get out of sequence.
3) Then I took the second half and split it four ways. I made it into a pencil roving .
The containers are important not just because they keep wicked little back cats from playing with the roving but because they preserve the color sequence. You want to spin each of these from the “start end” to the “finish end” and and not get them mixed up.
And yes I eat a lot of yogurt.
4) Again spin it worsted style with the fiber parallel to the draw. Because you have split the roving into to such thin strips, you’re not getting much of a single color before it changes. That’s the plan. Here is the short color bobbin (but its hard to see much difference at this point.)
5) Then ply the two together! See? No special skills required. Its all about splitting the roving and having enough yogurt containers.
The magic of this yarn doesn’t reveal itself until you knitting it up and I’ve only just started.
As you can see I started in a “mostly yellow” section. One ply is all yellow while the second ply cycles through the colors. Then I have a short “mostly pink” section. I’m just getting into the “mostly blue” section. I hope that’s enough to demonstrate the effect this yarn gives. Its less like color stripes and more prismatic. I love it. I love making handspun yarn that doesn’t look like anything you can buy in a store.
***UPDATED*** You can see the finished scarf and get a copy of my Free Pattern for Ripplet.
Want to know more about fractal spinning? Of course you do! Its gorgeous!
Knitty.com is a good place to start.
♦ Here is their article explaining how to make a fractal yarn. Its says pretty much what I say here (there ain’t much to fractal spinning) but in a different way. That can be helpful.
♦ And knitty just released a pattern specifically for fractal spun yarn. Its called Nahant. (Click that link or either picture and it will take you to the free pattern!)
Here is the yarn the designer used…
And here is the wrap she made…
See? See how it works up? You have to love that and if you spin you can make as much fractal yarn as you want.
I recommend Turkish Drop Spindles for beginners, fyi. Just in case you find yourself browsing online for one. For whatever reason.