Summer is here! The night sky is lit up by stars… and FIREWORKS!! Beautiful sparks of color adorn the night sky. There for a split second and then fading out of existence, leaving only a memory in their wake. As a child, perhaps you sat on a blanket on some grass at night with your family, watching in awe and wonder at the colorful displays. For many, summer is a time for refreshing activities, such as swimming in the nearby watering hole, or eating fresh watermelon and drinking lemonade while the sun shines down on us. And of course, who could forget that summer is the time of summer vacation, a time of freedom and exploration, and a time for fiber arts!
This July our Fiber Club Members received a Firework themed box of spinning fibers that sparkled with over 10 beautifully saturated colors! In this blog post we will dive into the box, tell you a story, and give you a spinning tutorial/video on how we processed the locks included in the box and spun and plied them onto the Fireworks blend.
IN THE BOX
4 oz. Fireworks, a Superfine 18.5 Micron Merino and Glitter Angelina/Stellina Combed Top
3 oz. Ashford Rainbow Dyed English Leicester Wool Locks – Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Violet.
6 grams of Angelina non Heat Bondable – Red, Silver, and Royal Blue
1 .75 oz. Unicorn Beyond Clean Fiber Wash
For one young boy, summer meant sipping fresh squeezed lemonade at his grandma’s house, an experience that of course would not be complete without cookies! Jordan, ever curious, grew up watching in fascination as his grandmother used a spinning wheel to spin her own yarn, until the day she deemed he was old enough to try it himself.
“Let me tell you a story,” Grandmother said, sitting in her favorite chair with the wheel next to her. “Today, we are going to spin yarn with bursts of color on a base as dark as the night sky. And I am going to tell you about Li Tian, a monk who invented fireworks!”
“Fireworks? Weren’t they invented in China?” Jordan asked.
“Yes, they were. Legend has it that a monk named Li Tian was mixing ingredients one day in a bamboo tube, and he put in just the right ingredients and then threw them into the fire. This combination exploded with a boom and a shower of sparks. Thus, the first firework was invented.”
“Did they come in pretty colors?”
“Not at first. At first the sparks were just white. But later people put different chemicals in the fireworks to create the beautiful displays we see today!”
“Did they use the fireworks for celebrations like we do?”
“Yes, even to this day Chinese New Year is celebrated with firecrackers to bring luck and fortune into the new year. And the Chinese used fireworks to frighten away evil spirits. In fact, Li Tian once scared an evil dragon’s ghost away with firecrackers!”
“Wow! How did he do that?” Jordan’s eyes widened in wonder.
“Well, a warrior and hero named Zhou killed a fearsome dragon. But the dragon’s spirit haunted him. So he came to Li Tian and asked for help. Li Tian said ‘I know just the thing!’ and mixed some special ingredients to make an extra powerful firecracker. Then, he set it off and BOOM, the evil spirit was banished!”
“But Grandma, what does this have to do with spinning?”
“Today, we are going to spin a fiber called Firework, that has beautifully saturated Superfine Merino wool and nylon fiber that glitters like the stars. We are going to take locks of Leicester wool dyed the colors of the rainbow and spin this into it.”
Chain Plying and Lock Spinning – An Alternate Way to Incorporate Locks in Your Spinning
“To begin, you spin a single, like this one,” Grandmother produced a bobbin with a glittering single in black and neon colors. “Then, you chain ply it. As you pull up a loop, you put the lock in the corner at the front of the loop. If you want to, you can also put a pinch of Angelina in there to add extra sparkle. Then, you wrap the lock around the inner and outer strands of the single. After that, you continue as normal, allowing the lock to spin into the yarn.”
Jordan’s head was swimming. “That seems a little complicated. Could we take it a little slower?”
“Of course!” Grandma said. “First, start your chain ply. After a chain or two, pull up a loop as normal.” Grandma demonstrated as she did this. “Then, you will have a loop with a strand running through it.” Grandma indicated the three pieces of yarn. “You put the lock where the loop begins, which looks a bit like a V. Allow a little twist to pick the lock up, securing it. Then, open the triangle and weave the lock in like this.” Grandma wove the lock under and over each strand, in a figure eight pattern, maneuvering the lock to fit into the length of the loop. “After that, bring the plies together and keep spinning. You can put the locks as close or far apart as you desire.”
“Wow!” said Jordan. “The locks add such great texture! And the color really does look like an explosion! Let me try, Grandma!”
Grandma let Jordan sit at the wheel and slowly guided him in his own lock spinning. When they were done, they had a beautiful skein of fluffy yarn with little curls of locks peeking through.
“Thank you, Grandma,” Jordan said, giving his grandma a hug. “Will you knit me a hat with it?”
Grandma chuckled. “Since you spun it, sure, I will make you a special hat.”
“Yay!” Jordan exclaimed. “Now, can I have more cookies?”