We know that superwash treated wool and non superwash treated wool accept dye differently.
The superwash treatment process
results in wool that does not shrink when washed, and as a bonus, it also
provides additional dye sites on the fiber itself resulting in a stronger depth
of color in comparison to the non-treated wool.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So here are a two examples that show the difference in dye strikes between yarns with different
We leveled the playing field by comparing yarns that all had
superwash merino as one component. But what happens when we add cellulose
fibers, in this case Tencel, to the wool yarn blend?
All the yarns in the above photo (La Grande, Umpqua and Crystal
Creek) were dyed with acid dyes. Acid dyes are used to dye protein based fibers
such as wool, mohair, silk and alpaca. They do not dye cellulose fibers. As you
can see from the image, the cellulose fibers do not take the dye but rather
reflect the light giving the yarn an incredible sheen.
At this time Ashland Bay carries two yarns that are blended with Tencel: Crystal Creek and Umpqua. Each
yarn base has a different percentage of Tencel.
Tencel adds incredible shine and drape to the yarns. To visually demonstrate
how the combination of superwash wool blended with Tencel affects the dye
strike, I took a pair of skeins, one Crystal Creek and one Umpqua, and dyed
them in the same dye pot. In the image above
within each set of colors, the Crystal Creek (50% Tencel) is on the left and the Umpqua
(15% Tencel) is on the right.
As you can see from both examples, when the percentage of supewash wool in the yarn decreases, the depth
of shade also decreases but as the percentage of Tencel increases the luster level increases.
Less color, more shine! The intensity of
color and reflective sheen is proportional to the respective percentages in the
I encourage you
to experiment with different fiber blend yarns and you will realize the endless
possibilities for creative adventures. Not sure what fiber blend to try next?
Give us a call!