Spinning Tuesday: Making your fiber go farther by marling on purpose
I’m still thinking about marling, but now I’m marling for a purpose.
More often than not I buy my fiber in 4oz increments, especially when I don’t know what I’ll make with it. Then comes the time when I pull it out to spin a 2-ply with it, and I want more yardage than 4 oz can get me.
What’s a spinner to do? This spinner stretches fiber by marling on purpose.
When I have fiber that hasÂ colors I love, I marl with a natural color, it makes a variation on the colorway.
When I have I fiber whose color combo no longer makes me sing, I marl with a second color or colorway to create a new visually complex colorway. I love playing with both of these techniques, they are full of surprises.
Today I’m playing with making a two ply yarn using a natural color fiber as one ply to make a variegated top or roving go farther yardage-wise.
I pulled a variety fibers I have that: I like the colorway, I wish I had more, and I want to make a two ply yarn out of.
Remember that plying with another color, even a natural will make a variation on the original colorway. If you are in big love with a colorway and don’t want to change it one little bit – this is not the playtime experiment for that fiber.
I’m going to start with the Briar Rose fiber. How do I choose which natural would work with it?
I compare them visually. What do I think would blend best with the colors in the Briar Rose? I keep in mind that the bigger the contrast between the Briar Rose and the natural I choose makes the type of candy cane marled yarn that I don’t like. I like my marl more blended.
If I’m having trouble choosing, or am just too giddy with possibilities I take a picture and look at the choices in black and white.
For me it’s easier to see what is closer to matching my dyed fiber when I take the color away. For me it’s the middle brown on the right (about 3:00, if the wheel of fiber was a clock), and an oatmeal brown (about 11:00). I’m curious about the striped roving (1:00) but not enough to sample.
There is no right or wrong choice, it all about what you like. The possibilities are endless and limited only by how much you are willing to sample.
Here are the yarns that came from the middle brown and the oatmeal plied with the Briar Rose. I didn’t like the look of the oatmeal when I was plying, my brain started yelling, ‘barber pole, barber pole”, so I stopped.
But when I knit the lighter sample
I liked it quite a bit.
Here’s the darker which I like too.
But when I put them together, there was a clear winner for me.
I love the darker version, but I like the lighter swatch so much more than I liked the yarn.
I love how the original colorway is in there, close but not exactly, more like kissing cousins.
This makes me want to try more combinations, especially ones that I’m not quite sure of. I’ll be working with the other brighter colors next, seeing what happens when they are plied with natural colors.
If you’re going to try this at home remember to go with your instinct, try at least two naturals with your variegated fiber, and maybe a third that you are sure won’t work. Just see what happens, you’ll be surprised, I always am and that’s exactly what keeps me playing with fiber.
Jillian is the author of the best-selling spinning book Yarnitecture. She is the editor of Knittyspin and Developmental Editor for PLY and PLY Books. She kinda loves this spinning thing and wants everyone who spins to love it too, so she teaches and writes a lot. She knits, weaves, and stitches and tries to do as much of it as she can with handspun yarn. She's always cooking up all kinds of exciting and creative things combining fiber arts.
She likes her mysteries British, her walks woodsy, and to spend as much time as she can laughing.
Spy on her on her website jillianmoreno.com