YOU ASK, WE DELIVER
In July 2017 a member of our Fiber of the Month Club asked us for input on the best way to blend their fiber club offerings. That question inspired this post where I will tell you all about our fiber club, how you can contribute to the best community of fiber artists in the world, and how to blend fiber together using a Blending Board!
JULY 2017 FIBER OF THE MONTH CLUB
For July Fiber of The Month we sent 6 oz. of a custom Combed Multi Merino Top inspired by the little fishy in the sea. If you haven’t seen this Studio Ghibli Classic Animated Film I highly recommend it. Ponyo is captivating, a lighthearted watch for the whole family!
We also sent 22 Grams of Hand Dyed Camel Down in various shades of dark and light blue – purple. To tie the whole ocean theme together we included a mixed bag of over 5 Deep Sea colors of Angelina Glitz fiber. Members loved the cleverly cute bag of Faux Cashmere with a circular puff of Jonquil Tussah Silk in the middle to mimic one of Ponyo’s favorite snacks, EGGS! All together we sent nearly 9 oz. of fiber for our club members to play with. Plus a little Goldfish snack, because blending and spinning will work up quite the apatite.
After blending all of these fibers together I plan to spin a bit of Ponyo up by itself not blended with the other fibers. The included camel down, faux cashmere, silk, and angelina could always be used with other fibers too! The faux cashmere will add stretch and durability to wool, the silk will add contrast and sheen to any blend, and the camel down would make a fine lace weight yarn by itself! Your imagination is the limit here. The possibilities are endless. Share your favorite way to use these fibers in the comments section below!
BLENDING ON THE PARADISE FIBERS BLENDING BOARD
Are you ready!? I promise this is easier than it looks, I’m writing to help you feel more confident blending on a blending board to create your own unique yarn. I couldn’t be happier with how my finished yarn turned out with this method. The best part is that I have plenty of fiber left over to play with! If you’d like to watch a video demonstration on using a blending board and the different types of rolags you could make click here.
Place an even layer of your base fiber onto the blending board. I chose The Merino Top- Ponyo for this, but you can choose any fiber. I tried not to disturb the top too much because I didn’t want those chunks of colors to blend any further. Since it is already a blended top I didn’t want the colors to mud together. A Blending Board is my favorite way to blend fibers together however you can also use Handcarders in a similar way or even a drum carder to create larger batts/rolags. There are many helpful video tutorials on youtube using all of these methods.
Use a mini carder/blending brush to card the fibers down allowing you to add another layer of fiber. You can also use a stiff paint brush to do this. The Paradise Fibers Blending Board Includes 2 Paint Brushes. Mini Carder is sold separately. I don’t prefer one over the other, both get the job done!
Add your next layer of fiber. I chose the Faux Cashmere (Stretched Nylon). Apply a generous amount across the board, attaching the ends of the roving to the tines at the top of the board and then drafting the fibers down the board to prevent clumping. Looking back, I added a little too much of the Ponyo Top and the Faux Cashmere making it harder to draft the fibers off at the end of the process. Keep this in mind if you plan on adding a lot of various fibers… less is more.
Card your next layer of fiber down to allow room for your next layer.
Apply your third layer of fiber the same way you applied the first two. I chose the Jonquil Tussah Silk. I didn’t cover the board entirely because I wanted this color to be an accent and not overpower the blue tones. Card this fiber down and move on to your next fiber. NOTE- the placement of the fibers onto the board is entirely up to you. There are many different ways you can apply the fiber to achieve different yarns. I like the painterly effect of randomly placing the fibers. With practice you will discover what you like best.
I chose to add bits of the dyed camel down next. With this fiber I found that it blends better if you fluff the fiber and draft out small pieces to apply to the board. Since this fiber is a down fiber that has not been carded or combed, you can card the fluff first to straighten the fibers making it easier to blend onto the board. I did not do this in the photo, however I do recommend it. Carding the down first will make your finish yarn less of an art yarn with bumps and bobbles and more of a uniform yarn. I kettle dyed this Camel Down with Country Classics Dye – National Blue and Pansy in several different batches each at a different intensity to create various light and dark shades of the two colors.
I placed the camel down randomly onto the board in no particular order until I was happy with the amount of contrast.
Card the camel down making room for your next layer of fiber.
This is where I added various colors of the Angelina Glitz Fiber onto the board. A little of this fiber goes a long way! I chose to add a tiny pinch of each color included in the FOTMC Box to the board in no particular order.
Card (burnish) the Angelina fiber down and prepare to draft the fibers off the board to make your rolags (puni) I decided to add one more layer of camel down before this step. As you can see in the photo, my fiber is ready to draft off the board and I have PLENTY of fiber left over to play with.
Place one wooden dowel beneath the fibers hanging at the bottom of the blending board. Place the other wooden dowel on top of the fibers, pinching the two dowels together with both hands sandwiching the fibers between them. Now you are ready to begin drafting the fibers off the board.
Using both hands on each side of the dowels Pinch, roll upward, pull downward, and draft the fibers down toward you. This is easier to do with the blending board on your lap with the stand turned vertically and placed in between your legs. This is where Less is more will be truly tested. If the fibers are hard to draft off, you might have too much fiber on the board. Keep in mind not to roll the fiber too tightly onto the dowels as this will make it hard to remove the rolag and harder to spin later.
I drafted and rolled the fibers off the board about 2 inches up to make one small rolag. You could continue all the way up the board for a larger rolag.
Pull one dowel out of your rolag. This step should be easy to do. If you are unable to remove the dowel, I’ve found that you can place one dowel down on the edge of a table and push the other dowel down to remove it. If this step is hard to do you may have drafted your fibers too tightly onto the dowels.
Step 15 & 16:
Push the rolag off the other dowel. You now have ONE rolag that is ready to spin.
Pull the fibers from the center of the rolag slightly out at either end. You now have a center pull that is ready to spin! Attach to a drop spindle or start spinning on your wheel! The center pull rolag will spin up so quickly and easily making a lovely yarn!
See how beautiful the fibers spin up! I naturally spin a fine weight but you can spin chunkier if you’d like. It’s amazing what you can create with just a few tools!
I was able to get 3 small rolags off the board ready to spin. You can repeat the steps above to get many many more rolags. Switch up the technique each time to get a truly unique yarn!
This is one rolag spun single and skeined. 🙂 I spun it using Ashford Student Drop Spindle , this is a great spindle for beginners! It’s a well balanced spindle with a long shaft and a large whorl so you can fit a lot of fiber onto it! Next time I’ll spin using a Kromski Spinning Wheel. Check out our selections of Spinning Wheels on our site.
WARNING: Our Fiber Club May induce euphoria.
Love fiber and all its color, fluff and softness? Looking to spice up your fiber routine? In a creative rut? Look no further than our Fiber of the Month Club ! A Monthly Box of Crafty Fiber Goodness Just For You!
Enroll Today to receive a monthly shipment of tantalizing fibers that will fuel your creative juices. Each box will include our monthly news letter including a description of each featured fiber. Fibers from all over the world just waiting to be discovered! From Cashmere to Hemp, Yak down to cultivated silk, and Fine merinos to unique Sheep Breeds. Our aim is to offer you a wide variety of fibers conveniently sent directly to your door.
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Each month our members share and discuss what they do with their fiber of the month club offerings on our open to the public Ravelry Group The Real Paradise Fibers! In the Fiber of The Month Club discussion board members can share their projects and enter into 3 categories for a chance to win 500 Paradise Points each month! That’s $5.00 to spend on our website!
ARMED WITH KNOWLEDGE
There are many ways you can blend fibers together, I’ve shown you my favorite way using a Blending Board and a painterly effect. Share your favorite way in the comment section below! Share this post with anyone you think might be interested! I hope my process helps to shed light on the matter and maybe even inspires you to blend your own creation! Have a question about our fiber club? Want to learn more about blending? Join our Ravelry group and explode with knowledge and inspiring content like this! Now you know that not only do we sell Yarn, Fiber, Spinning/Knitting/Felting/Weaving Tools at Paradise Fibers but we are also home to the best community of Fiber Artists and your destination for getting out of a creative rut with our Fiber Of The Month Club. Until next time…