a while back i purchased some color grown cotton; deep green, rich cinnamon chocolate, and moka chocolate. it is truly a joy to spin, very lofty, amazingly soft, and spins chunky easily. i spun up the green on my drop spindle, and reserved a tiny amount to compare with the finished version. when you're done plying color grown cotton you need to boil it a little bit with a pinch of baking soda to develop the deeper color. i added the larger skein to boiling water, and let it simmer for 40 minutes or so; the color develops quickly, but the added time allows the water to soak all the way through and to set the twist. the smaller skein shows the color as it is plucked from the plant, a pea soup green with yellow undertones. on the left is the color after the introduction of heat and alkaline, a blue tinged deep green. i quite like them both. i haven't tried boiling in a slightly acid bath to see if the yellow tones stay, or fulling in a cold bath. i'm not sure if it's the heat, the alkaline ph, or both which develop the deeper colors. further info and testing to be done.
i think i'm slowly getting to the point where i want to introduce more color into my spinning, not that earth tones aren't lovely, but at heart i am exceedingly fond of color. the way to do it best is to blend it in, so you have depth and variety of tones and hues. i have hand carders, but no drum carder, and even though i know you can blend on hand carders, it produces smaller amounts at a time, and you need to remember how you laid the colors down so that each bat is similar as possible when wanting a lot of fiber.
being inspired to finally try blending on hand carders the other night, i decided to give it a go, having no access to a drum carder. i think it went well. i wanted some chunky color, so i only carded once. using a base of white alpaca and layering in dyed wool and silk, i created a fiber sandwich; white-color-white. resting on the drop spindle is the first bat of silk, wool, and alpaca, plied with a light grey alpaca. i used the full rainbow of hues, and the soft sheen of silk is subtle but pleasing.
with the second attempt i added just four colors of wool, and some firestar to the alpaca, again plied with the grey alpaca. it's vey soft and lofty with just a touch of sparkle here and there. next time i'll blend the white alpaca and the silk noil first, then add the colors, and card it twice for more heathering.