Elmvale Mittens : spin the yarn

When I have a pretty, lively, colourful braid of hand-dyed roving in my hands, it presents an endless number of possibilities as to how to spin it up.

Despite my penchant for dyeing subtly-layered colourways in my own work, I am often drawn to vibrant, sometimes built with primaries, colour combinations.  I also try to minimize striping in my hand-spun, preferring, in the end, for an ‘all over effect’ rather than pure-coloured stripes (unless, of course, I am attempting to create pure-toned stripes ;)).  The results I seek do not always appear, at first glance, to be possible.

I was confronted with this quandry having chosen a BFL braid of “Dynomite” by FatCatKnits.

I like to try to keep the liveliness intact without allowing the separate colours to compete with each other for centre stage, becoming too crazy for the eyes once knitted.

One of the ways I like to have fun with it is to do a 3-ply (a ‘true’ 3-ply rather than a Navajo-ply) which will put the colours together in three separate instances rather than two, as would be the case with a 2-ply.  It tends to spread things around a little, supplying more options for colours to blend together without becoming dominant stripes.

At the same time, I didn’t want to spread it too thin by separating sections of the roving into thinner lengths because I was concerned too much of the deeper reds and blues might wind up juxtaposed against the bright yellows and yellow-greens, causing exactly the crazy on the eyes effects I was trying to avoid.

So, I decided to try the simplest approach possible:  I divided the roving into 3 equal sections by folding it lengthwise into thirds (one section for each ply).  And, then I spun each section from end-to -end.

Once plied, after using this spinning technique, the colours blend but do not lose their potency.  There are  also sections where two plies might have the same colour and be next to each other, which tends to have an overall blending effect because the ‘doubling up’ of the colour becomes a backdrop for the single remaining ply which is in a contrasting tone.  This technique also guarantees large sections of colour transiting through out the yarn and a large enough pace of transition between colours to prevent the resulting yarn from becoming wild and crazy for the eyes to behold.

As you can see in the finished knitting, the colours are lively and fun without over-powering each other.

Sometimes, simple is really just the way to go!

Technical details:
Worsted weight, 3-ply, 17 wpi, 191 yds [174 m] per 4 oz [113g].