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Spinning and Dyeing a Mottled Yarn

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Yarn I wanted to copy

I wanted to copy the mottled look of this natural brown wool with a dyed colour (Ashford purple). The first thing I did was look at the technique I had used to spin this yarn, and then looked at how to recreate the uneven colour in my dyed yarn. Here’s what I came up with.

The original yarn was spun from flicked locks of varying colour from the same brown sheep.  The locks were dark at the tips and paler at the other ends.  Some locks had large amounts of white in them.

Therefore, to recreate the mottled look with dyed yarn I would have to dye the locks unevenly. Of course, the easiest way to do this is to break all the rules of even dyeing!

Dry dyed locks of finn wool

Step 1: Prepare your dye bath using the instructions for your particular brand dye
Step 2: Stuff your wool in the pot
Step 3: Nuke it for 10 – 15 minutes.
Step 4: Let cool in the pot, remove, rinse, and dry.

Here is the gloriously uneven dye job I ended up with 🙂

Finised yarn compared to the original

Next, I flicked the locks and spun my yarn in the same way as I had spun the natural brown wool.

As you can see, the result is an uneven mottled yarn but without the white specks.

Next time, I’m thinking of adding some white at random intervals during the spinning process to give it that extra bit of interest. Perhaps even short sections of angora rabbit spun along with the wool for texture?

Copyright © 2001 Sarah Bradberry

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