Blending Coopworth and Merino/Tussah

accessories blending coopworth drum carder knitting merino merino/tussah silk tussah wool

This summer I rediscovered my love for blending on a drum carder.  Combining colors and textures to create something totally new is such a thrill!  One combination in particular that I found myself fascinated by was blending Coopworth wool with our 80/20 Merino/Tussah.

Dark Coopworth and Violet 80/20 Merino/Tussah on a painted wood background.

The Merino/Tussah comes in twelve wonderful colors, but blending it against the natural shades of Coopworth heathers and mutes it somewhat, creating a complex look from a simple blend.  The textures of the Coopworth and Merino/Tussah balance each other nicely as well.  The bounce of the Coopworth brings body to the mix while the Merino/Tussah softens the feel and adds a bit of drape without going limp.

Dark Coopworth fiber and Violet 80/20 Merino/Tussah Fiber with yarn spun from blending the two lying on top.

To keep things simple, I did half the weight in Coopworth, half the weight in Merino/Tussah, which makes the composition of the final blend 50% Coopworth, 40% Dyed Merino, 10% Tussah SIlk.  I did three blending passes on my Louet Jr. drum carder to make a very homogeneous blend, and it was a true pleasure to spin.  The silk makes the fibers glide, the poof from carding makes an airy, light yarn, and the beautiful colors kept me coming back for more.

Medium Coopworth and Lichen 80/20 Merino/Tussah lie on a painted wooden rail.  On top of the fiber is a batt made by blending the two and a bobbin full of spun spingles made from the blend.

These fingerless mitts are a full size swatch for a pair of flip-top fingerless gloves.  The mitts were made with Violet Merino/Tussah and Dark Coopworth, and the batts for the fingerless gloves are Lichen Merino/Tussah and Medium Coopworth.

A pair of fingerless mittens knit from a blend of Dark Coopworth and 80/20 Merino/Tussah lie on a painted wooden rail with some of the handspun yarn behind them.

Here are some experiments I'm planning for the future:

  • A gradient where the same color of Merino/Tussah is blended with each shade of Coopworth
  • A two-ply where each ply has the same shade of Coopworth but a different color of Merino/Tussah
  • Dyeing Coopworth then blending with a similar color of Merino/Tussah
  • 70/25 blends instead of 50/50