Diz and Blending Board! A Smooth Prep Tutorial

Have you ever dizzed fiber off a blending board? Check out Kim McKenna’s method for creating a smooth, blended prep.

Kate Larson Mar 23, 2022 - 4 min read

Diz and Blending Board! A Smooth Prep Tutorial Primary Image

The Ancient Earth Shawl by Kim McKenna and a Louet blending board. Photo by Matt Graves

The new Spring issue of Spin Off includes a great article by Kim McKenna on creating smooth blends using a diz and blending board. Kim used this method to create the palette of complex colors she used to spin and knit her Ancient Earth Shawl. One of the things I love most about this article/project combo is that many people see blending boards as a fun tool for creating one-of-a-kind, small-batch blends. Kim shows us how she plans blends for project-scale endeavors.

Kim’s article walks you through 2 blending processes, how to choose a diz, her method for stabilizing the board, and strategies for working with handpainted tops. Dizzing the fiber off the board is only one piece of this colorful puzzle, but it is a step that can be helpful to see in action. So, during our busy Spring photo shoot, assistant editor Katrina King and I filmed a quick video. Here I’m moving slowly through the steps, but at speed, you can move the diz quickly and easily across the board, creating smooth, easy-to-spin blends.

See the Process

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One of my favorite things about spinning is learning a new way to use a familiar tool. I typically use a blending board to create fun punis with chunky shots of contrasting silk, or I create gradient batts using tulle (a tip from Amy Tyler!) I had not, however, tried dizzing smooth worsted preparations off my blending board until I read Kim McKenna’s method.

Step By Step

Kim McKenna dizzing from a blending board

The neat rows of fiber should be about as wide as your diz. Photo by Kim McKenna

With the inward curve of the diz facing the board, thread the fringe through the diz. Once this area has thinned out, bring the diz in line with the top of the teeth, tilt the diz forward and place it facedown on the teeth. Continue to work toward the top of the board with the face of the diz placed on the teeth using the following motions:

  1. The drafting hand slides the diz forward while the other hand cradles the dizzed fiber to keep the roving off the board. With the drafting hand, slide the diz forward a short distance with the thumb and index finger. Stop.
  2. Using the thumb and index finger of the drafting hand, pinch the fiber at the orifice and then, with the help of the middle finger, apply a little pressure to the diz while you slide the diz back toward you a short distance. As you pull back you should see the fiber being pulled through the teeth. This is key to creating a smooth blend.
  3. Repeat from step 1. As you do so, gently guide the dizzed fiber up through the orifice with your fiber hand.

Enjoy! —Kate

Kate Larson is the editor of Spin Off and spends as many hours as life allows in the barn with her beloved flock of Border Leicesters.