Hand-Dyed Blue-Faced Leicester Roving

I am still not totally done spinning the hand-dyed BFL wool, however, I have already started knitting some of it. I just couldn’t resist! The skein was calling to me from the basket…saying, “I’ve decided I want to be a scarf!” So I have completed spinning about 2/3 of the fiber, and have started a scarf with it.

It started out looking like this:


I researched about how to spin variegated roving because it occurred to me that once plied this could become complicated, since the colors won’t line up just right as far as the variegation goes. After reading several articles, it came down to the fact that you don’t want it to end up looking muddled (unless you are going for the muddled look), but from what I had read it wasn’t clear whether or not there is a for-sure way to prevent it, just several different ways to get some different looks. So after a lot of research I just decided to start spinning and see how it went.

First, I split the length of roving widthwise into three parts, which ended up about 5-6 feet long each, trying to break it where the color pattern repeated. Then, I took one-third and split it lengthwise several times until I had 32 lengths of roving. I pre-drafted those and then spun them. then I repeated with the next third.

Here is how the single ply turned out:


And here is the double ply, when I wound it on to the Niddy Noddie:


Here is one of the finished skeins:


And here it is becoming a scarf:


Muddled? Maybe a bit, but I feel like there are still individual colors coming out here and there. Hard to see in the photo. But I am happy with it, and that is good!

I got 74 yds from the first section, and 66 yds from the second section. The third section is the same length as the first section, so I expect about another 74 yds from it as well. I am estimating I will end up with about 214 yards of yarn from the 4 oz of roving.

I am contemplating my other roving that is variegated, trying to decide what I would like to do the same or different with that one to see how it turns out. I think I might try NOT breaking it into three shorter pieces at first, and just split the entire thing lengthwise into 4-8 pieces and then pre-draft and spin. That would make for very long sections of each color…possibly too long. It is a very long piece of roving to be working with if I do that, so I am still not sure exactly what I will do. I think after I finish with this BFL I will move onto one of my naturally colored fibers and leave the other variegated one for later. Time will help me come up with just the right plan.

8 thoughts on “Hand-Dyed Blue-Faced Leicester Roving

  1. Gorgeous!!! You’re getting so good! I usually prefer more subtle striping, so I think the way you drafted it looks great. How does the BFL compare to the other wools you’ve worked with so far?


    • Well so far I have worked with Corriedale, Navajo-Churro, and BFL. I would say it had a finer crimp and it seemed a smoother texture than the Corriedale. But as far as spinning I felt like it spun up pretty similar to the Corriedale. The finished yarn is not quite as soft as the Corriedale but that might be because I made a much thinner yarn with the BFL. I don’t know.

      It was clearly, drastically different from the very rough and curly N-C.


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