Fauxlags, Fractals…

I can’t think of a better way to spend a frigid weekend than tucked away learning new spinning techniques. The Fiber Treasures retreat this year was call “Fauxlags, Fractals, and Funky Yarns,” and we covered a lot of ground on all!

Fauxlags are a fun way to prepare a combed top that gives you a little more control over your yarn. You roll the top around a dowel, pull off a staple length, and continue to roll until it’s a nice, round “rolag.” We had hand-dyed top from Hello Yarn to work with, and most of us decided to arrange the colors into gradients.

And as this is a woolen prep for fiber, I decided to try my hand at a long draw again to bring out the fluffiness of the fiber. It went shockingly well, since it’s been a couple of years since I attempted to long draw.

Here’s my finished yarn! And Mom with her’s! It reminds me of sun, sand, and water; a welcome thought when the temperature’s in the single digits.

Next up was a fractal, which I’ve been meaning to try for a while. I got excited about this bit and finishing my fauxlag yarn, so I didn’t get any pictures, but enjoy some illustrations:

When top is dyed, it’s usually laid out in such a way that there’s a repeating pattern of color. A fractal is a mathematical term, “in which similar patterns recur at progressively smaller scales,” and spinning yarn this way is a fun way to play with those patterns of colors.

The first step is to split the top in half length-wise. Take note of which end is the “top” and “bottom.” We noted this with a loose knot on our tops. Set one of the halves aside. The other half was split further, halves, thirds, or quarters, depending on how long the color changes were in the roving. Mine were pretty distinctly 4″ to 8″, so I went with quarters.

So you spin these two lengths of top, one thick and one skinny. This creates long color changes on one ply and shorter changes on another, like my “plies” below. The finished yarn really showcases all of the colors.

My top, I thought, was green, orange, and white. Since Mom’s headed to Ireland later this year, I thought she might need some Irish-flavored sock yarn. As I’m spinning, the orange is actually gold, but I’m still going for it! It’s quite fine, this is all I was able to spin over the weekend.

Let me also say that this venue was fantastic. The staff at our Drury Inn was amazing and accommodating, and included with the room was not only breakfast, but dinner and alcoholic drinks! It was so wonderful, I hope the next retreat will be there as well!

On Thursday, I’ll show you my funky yarns we spun the following day!

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