Fractal Spinning

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I finally got to spin some Hello Yarn fiber in Finn, and I thought I’d take advantage of the lovely colorway “Winter Storage” to play with fractal spinning. For this sample, I divided the combed top in half lengthwise. I took one of the halves and spun it directly across the top to preserve the color changes of the entire sequence. I took the other half and divided it lengthwise into four strips, and I spun each strip beginning at the same end.  I then plied to create a 2-ply yarn. The result is a simple combination of striping in which one of the plies moves through the color sequence of the combed top only once and the other ply cycles through the entire color sequence of the length of the combed top four times.

The first photo on the left is at the half-way point. I’ve already spun up one of the halves of my combed top. The other four mini bumps are the four sections that I created from the other half. I like to wrap them up this way so that I can be sure to start from the same end.

This is a simple description of fractal spinning, a method developed by Janel Laidman in Spin-Off (Summer 2007). Alexandra Tinsley also has a great description here in Knitty though I have to admit to being initially confused by its thoroughness.

I haven’t decided what I think about Finn. This is the first time I’ve spun it, and though it drafted fairly easily there was a bit of tension at times. I think it may be because Finn felts very easily and if the fiber gets compressed at all, it can resist that smooth glide between the fingers that some folks describe as “buttery.”  But, the knitted swatch was so lovely with a faint halo and spring in its texture. I think that I’m going to knit a hat like Cecily Glowik MacDonald’s “Brier Toque” to preserve the fun color variations.  Besides, I’m Canadian, and any chance I get to use the word “toque”– I’ll take.


6 thoughts on “Fractal Spinning

    • Thank you for the compliments! I was surprised by how the shawl turned out. The colors were a lot cooler (more whites and blues), but after setting the yarn in hot water, it bled and the result is a much warmer palette, which I also like.

      What kind of color/fiber are you considering for chain-plying or fractal spinning? I can relate to shaky two-plies. My spinning is definitely not even, but somehow things just even out in the setting and knitting process. Thank goodness! 🙂

      • Have you ever watched Judith MacKenzie’s video, The Gentle Art of Plying? I borrowed a copy from my local library. I have the same problem with consistency and she recommended that once you find a particular twist you like for your ply to then count how many seconds it takes for you to treadle and ply a section.You repeat this until you get used to the rhythm and you don’t have to count. That kind of precision tests my patience but it does help with my plying.

        I love Moonrover! I just signed up for the fiber club, and am very excited to get my first shipment! I can’t wait to see what you do with your braid.

    • Oooh! I can’t wait to see your Moonrover yarn. I bet it will be stunning. I just purchased some Moonrover batts (my first ever) and I’m excited to try it out.

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