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 'Drab' color wool - what to do?

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Nubiwan Posted - 10/10/2008 : 11:33:45 AM
Okay - I've got about 4 pounds of mixed grey/tan wool that is a combination of locks and carded fluff. I got a big box of this combo intending to use it for long-draw practice.

Now -I am wondering how to spiff it up to make a more interesting yarn?

I was thinking about dyeing it dark blue or green - then, it occurred to me that I could blend in some white or other colors (Now that I have hand-carders).

But - will I wind up with even more wool that is just "kind of nice" in my ever growing stash?

What do you think?
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Nubiwan Posted - 10/13/2008 : 08:30:22 AM
Thanks folks - I think I got the boost I needed - plus, nobody said "...Oh no, NEVER change the wool's natural colors..!".

Status Report:

Blending: I sampled blending with natural black - not good;
2nd- with 'ecru' Columbia - nice (for a boring guy like me).

Dyeing: (Thanks Kris!)
I used my teensy crockpot and about an ounce of fiber:
1) Jacquard Teal - Great for the tannish wool, the grey is still mostly 'grayish'.
2) Jacquard Fire Red - again the tannish wool took it fine, not so the grey.
3) Ashford Scarlet - Very nice, rather dark but it took extra time and citric acid to exhaust.
4) Gaywool (Brown - forget actual name) - very nice two-tone effects - BUT - took a LONG time to set the color. My measure may have been off because I was going by the color of the dyebath - but, this was resolved by adding a half-teaspoon of acid powder.

I am thinking of a test-blend of the Gaywool dyed stuff with the natural colors - should look like my first Burberry coat (which I got in a 2nd-hand store).

Lessons learned: 1) It's now obvious this fiber is not from one type of sheep - but, all I was promised was "wool".
2) Dyeing samples is a good idea whenever the fiber or the dye is new to you.
stseraphina Posted - 10/11/2008 : 2:36:17 PM
Experiment, experiment, experiment! You can think something will turn out beautiful, only to have it look awful, and you can think it might be horrible, only to find it is gorgeous!

I spun up a LOT of dark gray Romney this past week, intending to use it with some other multi Romney (gold, burnt orange, rusty red, spruce green). Anyway, the gray was the wrong color. I thought it had enough natural brown in it to go with the multi but when I put the finished yarn side by side it looked horrible.

I did a tiny test skein in olive dye. Yeah, gray yarn plus olive dye. FABULOUS brown! It is perfect, and still looks natural.

Another time I dyed a tannish/cocoa BFL in bright cherry red and got a great burgundy. And then, there was the brick disaster - same yarn plus rust, was AWFUL, downright ugly.

Just dye bits of this and that. Here's a quicky. Soak a couple of clean locks in water. make a tiny dye bath - little squirt of liquid dye stock plus half a cup of water and a teaspoon of vinegar, and boil it in the microwave, then just let it sit until it's room temp. You can do a bunch of these at once.


What came out of my dyepot this week? Sock yarn? Laceweight? Silk? Come and see my yarn!
KathyR Posted - 10/10/2008 : 3:48:36 PM
Yup, what the others say. Experiment! If you aren't happy with it now, what do you have to lose?


If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got.
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fiberlicious Posted - 10/10/2008 : 1:02:25 PM
Blending it with white fiber will result in a lighter beige; with darker fiber, a darker beige. I love the depth of brown fiber dyed with bright colors!
lella Posted - 10/10/2008 : 12:22:55 PM
I was thinking you could over-dye it in blues or turquoise. The tan would get an interesting color. Try some samples. Reds and Orange sounds great, too.

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knottyknitter Posted - 10/10/2008 : 12:02:38 PM
It's really difficult to say. I've seen some brown shetland that was dyed with jewal tones that gave it a wonderful sort of "overdyed" look. Not technically overdyed since the original brown was the natural color, but that's what it looked like. I think you might want to do a little experimentation and be prepared to not necessarily get what you expect. Reds and oranges also might give you some pretty nice results.

Blending might be nice too - you might even want to try doing both and you may be very pleasantly surprised. Sounds like you have enough to end up with some pretty nice results.

BTW - where in the area are you located (you can PM me if you want) - you might be interested in my spinning group.

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