Taming a rainbow

This beautiful rainbow-coloured braid has been languishing in my fibre stash for far too long:

Hand-dyed by tibbe

It’s BFL and silk, and the colours are a bit brighter than in the picture. Still very pretty!

I took part in the MirkwoodArts All*Stars SAL, and I had just finished my sky blue yarn, with a week to go until the end of the SAL. I decided to spin this pretty fibre as a dessert.


First, I created rolags. I knew that I wanted the colours to stay a bit random, but I also wanted to mix them a little, to tame their intensity. It’s a fine line between a subtle blend and a muddy result, though. Just like when you mix watercolour paint, if you overdo it, you end up with drabby browns.


I turned the 100 grams of fibre into 16 rolags. In the picture they look quite uniform, but that’s just the outside layer. Inside, there are different colours as well.


Here you can see what I mean by blending without getting too muddy. In the singles, fibres with different colours are spun together, creating a lively, slightly duller combined colour. For example, bits of blue and pink create bits of purple together. Red and yellow create orange. I was slightly worried that plying would increase the dulling of the colours too much (mixing three colours when chain plying…).

The singles

After less than a week, I was done. It is funny how relative spun thickness can feel. After my previous project (3-ply lace yarn) this felt very, very thick. I could hardly force myself to spin even thicker. But after chain plying, on the bobbin, it looked suspiciously close to fingering weight yarn… Not that thick at all!


I skeined and measured the yarn. It was fingering weight indeed: 100g/358m. And in the end, the yarn is not dull or muddy, fortunately. It is a bit green/orange heavy, but that’s okay. I still like it. I was a bit surprised by how dominant the oranges and greens were, because I did not expect that from looking at the original braid. But then I remembered an earlier experience, when I had combined purple and green. Purple, according to Itten, is much less intense than green, so if you combine equal parts, the green will come to the foreground. If you look at the skein closely, you can see a decent amount of pink, blue, and purple. But the green stands out, as do the yellowish tints. That’s colour theory for ya!


The yarn is surprisingly balanced. The skein in the picture has not even been washed yet!

Up close

Here you can see how variegated the plies are, and how they blend together into the plied yarn. I think it’s pretty cool!

MirkwoodArts All*Stars SAL

So this is what I produced during the SAL. Not bad! I especially love the blue yarn because I can see myself wearing that colour, but I also really appreciate my tamed rainbow, because it’s so interesting and bright and spring-like!

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