From Photo to Yarn

Have you ever wondered how you can create a hand spun yarn based on an inspirational photo? With a drum carder you can easily make your own beautifully blended sliver ready for spinning by “dizzing” straight off your drum carder (video below).

As with any new project I do like to sample before I commit to the full project of yarn. Here is how I created my sample based on a beautiful photograph taken by Kerrin @kerrin_sigmo who, as well as being the office administrator here at Ashford HQ, is also a talented photographer.

I hope you have a go at this technique and spin up some of your favourite photos!

Happy carding and spinning, 


You will need:

A colour inspiration photo
Dyed fibre in colours that are similar to the ones in your photo
A drum carder
A diz – I used a button
Spinning wheel

Here’s how:

First I selected some colours of Ashford Corriedale sliver that were similar to the colours in the photo. I then blended some more customised colours on the drum carder. 

Hint: when blending smaller quantities of fibre on the drum carder use only a narrow strip on the drum rather than spreading over the entire width of the drum. Once I had all the colours blended to match the photo to my liking, I prepared my batt on the drum carder, feeding strips of each colour onto the drum in the order to match my photo.  
Now for the fun part – making your sliver.  You could remove the batt as normal, roll into a large rolag and “stretch” it out to sliver form, but I find dizzing it straight off the carder works extremely well and is very quick.

Position your carder so you can access the back of the large drum, ensure the handle can turn freely (you can also remove the handle if you need to). Turn the packer brush up and out of the way. Start on the right side (this works for me; you may prefer to start on the left). Turn the drum so the metal strip is on top, using the doffer pick up and break a piece approximately 1-2cm wide of the batt. Using a crochet hook thread the strip of fibre through the hole in your diz. Hold your diz with one hand and grip the fibre close to the diz and gently pull through. The drum will turn as you do this. Work your way across the drum to get one long continuous length of sliver.

Wind your sliver into a ball and you are ready to spin!

I spun my sample and chain plied as I wanted to keep the colours together. Set the twist (washing the yarn) and then knit your sample.

I was very happy with the results and will now go ahead and make enough sliver for my full project.

To make Dizzing even easier, we now manufacture a Diz Stick. The Diz Stick is available individually (previously only included with the e-Carder). 

Create consistent, even ready-to-spin sliver directly from your e-Carder, drum carder or blending board.

For blending, hand and wild carding tutorials, "Learn to" booklets, advice, and inspiration.