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Heather Yarn

Posted 5/23/2017 7:25pm by Eugene Wyatt.

'Red Pine' in the Heather Yarn Store.

Posted 2/14/2013 4:29pm by Eugene Wyatt.

We dye yarn that we've sold out of. We began this Umber with a Gray Heather yarn that was custom spun for us at the Green Mountain Spinnery in Vermont; where we specify the percentages of dyed black & undyed wool to be carded lightly before spinning. At the farm we overdye the gray with blue, red, purple, green and umber colors. 

Our skeins weigh 2 oz (50 g) and measure 140 yd with 5 stitches per inch on US 8 needles.

Take a look at our work in the Yarn Store.

Posted 12/15/2010 9:14pm by Eugene Wyatt.


Gray Heather is different from other yarn; it is a dyed-in-the-wool black and an undyed natural white  wool that are mixed together in the card before spinning.  They are mixed to not-be-mixed-well so there is a variation of blacks and whites and grays in color visible along the fiber after it is spun.



If the wool were worked in the card longer it would be a more uniform gray. 

The spinnery has a sequence; they spin natural whites together as a group spending a month or longer on those, then they do natural colored (blacks and browns) wools taking a couple of weeks spinning those; then they spin dye-colored wools, which was when the Gray Heather was spun, before they go back to natural whites.  Between each group they must clean the card so one wool does not contaminate the color of another.


The card at Green Mountain Spinnery in Putney Vermont

About 3 weeks ago I dyed 25 pounds of wool black then shipped it to the spinnery to be carded with the natural white. Yesterday the Gray Heather arrived, today we washed the spinning oil off 4 pounds and will take that with us Saturday.  It always feels good to have something new at market.  Next week we will overdye the heather giving us tints of blue, red and green all the while maintaining the visibility of the dark and light variation underneath.  The heathered yarns are popular and we will do well with them.

Each worsted skein weighs 2 ounces (50 grams) and it is 140 yards in length; the wool comes from our superfine Saxon Merino sheep. Expect 5-6.5 stitches per inch using US 5-8/3.75-5.25 mm needles.

Available from the Heather Department of the Yarn Store.

Posted 3/23/2010 7:30pm by Catskill Merino.

Gray heather yarn is back! Green Mountain has spun 30 pounds of  heather from our Saxon wool which they blend in the card: 25% of a dyed-in-the-wool black (farm dyed) with 75% of  natural white (farm raised); it's lovely—the spinnery did well—I'm pleased and it's for sale at the stand in Union Square, or you can order from the Heather Worsted department of the Yarn Store.

(Photos of gray yarn go better with onions, or any colored item.)

Right now, it's about 9 PM; I am leaving  soon for the evening lamb check; when the lambs slow down (13 lambs born so far today, about 100 newborns since 3/11) perhaps we can overdye some heather.

Posted 10/9/2008 8:16pm by Catskill Merino.

Osage over Heather


Kombu is arrived at by dyeing Osage Orange over a gray Heather Yarn  which is made when the spinnery cards together undyed wool and dyed-in-the-wool black before spinning it.
Yarns to be dyed with Osage Oranges (including over dyes of Heather) must be first mordanted with Alum, then dyed according to the Immersion Dyeing procedure outlined in Natural Dye Workshop 10.  Note that Osage takes quickly; you may want to pull it from the bath after 10 minutes if you're looking for a lighter hue.  If it's too light reintroduce the yarn, pull it and look again in 5 minutes or so.  Osage dyes dark at 4% WOF, light at 2% WOF.
Trick of the Trade: don't throw a dyebath out until it's exhausted.  The Kombu pictured above was dyed in the bath left over from dyeing natural yarn with a dark Osage—using a bath twice (the 2nd color will be lighter than the first) saves and it quickly adds another hue to your color story.
Kombu is a seaweed harvested off Hokkaido and is used in Japanese & macrobiotic cuisine as an ingredient in soups & stocks.
Posted 12/4/2007 11:28am by Catskill Merino.

Gray Heather 1 Ply

18 pounds of dyed in the wool black were carded with 60 pounds of undyed natural wool to produce this heather gray.  Carding is the mixing step that must occur before the wool is spun into yarn on a spinning frame.