04 July 2016

Optical Illusion

As you know, sometimes I'm working on a project that suits a vision, and sometimes I'm just experimenting to see what happens. ("Experiment" — isn't that just a grown-up word for "play?")

Four ounces of Corriedale recently hit my fiber stash. This was from A Good Yarn in Sarasota, Florida. I had been a winner in last year's Spinzilla, but somehow we had never quite coordinated getting the prize into my mailbox. No worries, as it arrived just in time for the summer dyeing season. Yes, while the rest of Atlanta melts in the heat, I figure I should make use of this free and excess heat energy.

I divided the fiber into thirds. Using Jaquard acid dyes, I dyed one chunk with 602 bright yellow, the second chunk with 608 pink, and the third chunk with 624 turquoise. I did the sun tea version of dyeing, but I should have used larger jars. I had trouble with the fiber not dyeing evenly. I got the yellow saturated in only one or two tries, but the pink and turquoise I dyed repeatedly. I must admit I was amazed at how the fiber slurped up the pink. I continue to find that blues don't always exhaust the dye bath. Maybe they need more vinegar?

The downside of the repeated dyeing was that the turquoise felted a little but the pink felted a lot. Hmmm. I used my hand cards to break the fiber up into tufts.

Okay, so what to do with three piles of fluff?

By now you may have guessed that what I have are the basic printer colors of yellow, magenta, and cyan. I knew I wanted to blend the colors. But how?

Initially, I thought I would make rolags on my blending board. But when I started to use the board, I realized I needed something with a greater capacity. Time to get out the Majacraft Fusion Engine drum carder!

There was some math involved and a lot of dividing. Here's what I did.

I decided to be very picky about measuring, so I used my jeweler's scale, because it measures to the 0.1 of a gram. Unfortunately, the fluffy fiber made it hard to read the scale. So I figured out what to do. I rolled up a piece of paper. I could stuff the fiber down inside the paper (or even set the fiber on top) and still be able to read the scale to get a measurement. The trick is to tare the scale first with the piece of paper on it.

I started by dividing each of the three colors in quarters. That gave me 12 puffs of fiber, 4 puffs of each of 3 colors. I decided to make 6 rolags, 2 each of 3 different colorways. My final goal was rolags blending from magenta to yellow, yellow to cyan, and cyan to magenta. That meant each rolag would use only 2 of the 3 colors.

To blend on the drum carder, I started with 2 puffs of 2 different colors.
I measured out a 1 gram puff, another 1 gram puff, and a 2 gram puff from both colors.
I put a 1 gram puff of different colors at each edge of the drum carder and carded those.
Then I did the same thing, this time moving the puffs about and inch or two in from the edge of the carder.
I took the pair of 2 gram puffs, attenuated them together, and then carded them onto the middle of the drum.

At this point I had a 50/50 color mix in the center, and pure colors at each side.
To fill in, I divided the remainder of the two starting puffs each into ½g, 1½g, 1g, and 2g.
I paired off the ½g and 1½g pieces, attenuated them together, and carded them about two to three inches from the edge, so they overlapped some with the solid color.
Then I paired off the 1g and 2g pieces, attenuated them together, and carded them in the gaps next to the center 50/50 section.

When the carding was complete, I used two aluminum US size 8/5mm knitting needles to roll the batt off as if it were a large rolag. Here's was I got.

Any orange, green, or violet you think you see is an illusion caused by optical mixing.

My plan is to spin magenta to yellow, yellow to cyan, cyan to magenta, magenta to cyan, cyan to yellow, and yellow to magenta. I should be able to wind the whole singles off as an Andean plying bracelet and then make a 2-ply. That's the plan, anyway.

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