For Chirstmas, I got a Brother motorized drum carder with 120 TPI carding cloth. This is a machine used for preparing wool for spinning into yarn. So, I was anxious to try it out and experiment with different techniques of blending color to see what the final yarn would end up like. I started with color inspiration from design-seeds.com:
Then, I found natural wool colors and dyed some wool with food coloring to try to imitate each of the colors in inspiration picture. Here is the natural wool I started with - white and black/grey.
1 ounce piles of wool before dyeing.
For the yellow I used 4 cups of water, 1/2 cup white vinegar, 30 drops yellow food coloring, 2 drops of green, and 2 drops of blue and simmered in my little crockpot dedicated to dyeing for about an hour.
For the light teal, I did the same thing but used 26 drops of blue food coloring and 10 drops of green.
For the dark teal I upped the vinegar to 3/4 cup and used 46 blue, 18 green, and 3 red drops of food coloring. I might have let this one go longer too, but I don't remember for sure.
After they came out of the dye bath, they dried overnight - here is how they looked after dyeing and before carding. The yellow looks way more yellow than it did in the crockpot.
Here is the comparison of the inspiration picture colors to the carded batts:
I divided these into four pieces and tried 4 different techniques of carding/spinning to see how the yarn would differ.
For the first batt, I used a sandwich technique that I saw on this video from NeauveauFiberArts, but she learned it from PluckyFluff, who is the one who helped design my spinning wheel, the Aura from Majacraft.
The batt was fairly mixed in color, and you can see that in the final yarn.
For the second and third batts, I tried just putting the separate colors in stripes across the drum carder to keep them more separated.
In process of drum carding.
The batt before spinning.
The singles before plying. I basically went up and down the batt, spinning most/all of one color before switching to the next.
The final double plied yarn. Since I plied one skein onto itself, you an see that the dark teal is mostly always with black, the yellow with grey, white with light teal...etc, so not a ton of variation.
For the third batt, I prepared it the same way on the drum carder, but then pulled off horizontal strips so that it went back and forth across all of the colors several times for the singles.
This one was more mixed than the second skein, but not as muted as the first.
For the last batt, I did each color in a layer.
Side view of batt.
The singles were much more mixed than the last two, but not as muted as the first.
Here is the double-ply.
Here are the 4 skeins from left to right: skein #1, skein #4, skein #3, skein #2.
I think they all capture the idea of the inspiration picture but it was interesting to see how the different methods produced different yarns. I don't think the picture really captures the real differences as much as you can see them in real life.
A post with a final product from this yarn will follow.