Supplies: Drum carder or hand carders
Dyed silk noils
Luxury fibers like cashmere, angora, and alpaca
And, if you are like me, a color wheel.
I need a color wheel when I am working with color blending to avoid making mud. Joseph Itten identifies seven color contrasts. The contrasts I use when dyeing are hue, light and dark (as opposed to saturation), and warm and cool. I avoid complements unless the color areas are large. For instance, complements work when dyeing large areas of spaced dyed yarn, but may not when applying many colors in a painterly fashion.
Complements may not work in carding for color because the colors don’t juxtapose, but blend and mud may result!
Light and dark may get lost in a blending situation.
Analogous colors and monochromatic colors are great tools to use when choosing colors for color blending.
Equal parts of most colors work well together. A small amount of one hue may be lost in a blending unless it is shining, metallic, hairy, or in some way will stand out from the rest of the fiber.
Some things to remember about carding for color and texture is the resulting yarn will have the same characteristic as the fibers you are blending. If you want a smooth yarn, it would be best to avoid noils, silk waste, or short fibers such as cotton in the blend.
When spinning for a specific project, the carding process may have to take place over several carding sessions. It is a good policy to plan how much of each fiber you will need and also to weigh out what you will use so that you can maintain some consistency in the project from skein to skein.
I like to use undyed, bleached luxury fibers for blending because they stand out. You can SEE the little bits of cashmere!
Layer luxury fibers in between layers of wool when using a drum carder unless you have fine carding cloth or the finer fibers may ride on top of the wire teeth.
Thoroughly card silk noils before adding them to a blend unless you want the very nubby look of the noils.