Fractal Spun Fun

Typically fractal spun yarn is produced by dividing a long braid of roving in half lengthwise. One half is kept intact, while the subsequent piece is divided once again and perhaps in half yet again. The 1st half is spun onto one bobbin and the other half, now in smaller sections, is spun onto another bobbin. The 2 bobbins are then plied together. The effect is one of a subtle striping created from the 1st bobbin with an over layer of a much shorter stripe from the second bobbin. So for example, if there were 3 yards on bobbin #1, consisting of 1 yard each of color A, B, and C, bobbin #2, would have ABC,ABC,ABC within the same 3 yards.. Of course there are many different combinations that can be used. For instance the 2nd bobbin may be spun beginning from the opposite end of the roving or the roving may be spilt in additional sections. The variations are almost limitless. Hence the FUN!


For my project today I wanted to use the same basic concept using individually dyed hanks of roving, rather than a painted braid.

And I wanted it BRIGHT! I used Neon Food Color and vinegar to dye 1.5 oz each of purple, green, pink and blue.

Each ball of roving was divided in half, giving me one .75 oz strip of each color per bobbin. I set one aside for my second bobbin and focused on Bobbin #1. I wanted to have a second repeat of the underlying stripe so each color was divided in half again, giving me a total of 8 pieces (2 of each color).

Next I prepared the roving for bobbin #2. I pulled off small sections (about 4” in length) from each color and placed them in sequential order for bobbin #2.

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The 1st bobbin was spun as follows: green, purple, pink and blue, then this was repeated again to complete.

The second bobbin was spun by picking up the small pieces of roving and spinning them in the same order. This may not be the most precise method, not having weighed each hunk, but it was easy and a lot of fun!

The resulting yarn was exactly what I had envisioned. It was like a candy store of yarn!


Here’s a pattern that will show off the beautiful color changes that are the hallmark of fractal spun yarn. It fits just right around the neck, creating a cozy wrap that will bring brightness and warmth to even the bleakest of days. It uses simple increases and decreases. The only tricky part is finding the center of your yarn. Because I repeated my colors 2 times on bobbin one, all I needed to do was look for the colors to begin to repeat themselves. I also used a scale to accurately weigh my skein and divided that number in half. As I knit, I used the scale to verify my halfway point.



Fractal Spun Shawl Pattern

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One Response to Fractal Spun Fun

  1. Linda says:

    This looks like so much fun yesterday make me want to try it…

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