Barber pole, peppermint stick, marl are all used to describe a type of yarn that has two high-contrast singles plied together. It’s a type of yarn I really don’t care for.
Though I have recently made marled yarns with less contrast that I’ve really liked. I’ve also noticed the weight of the yarn makes a difference in the marling.
So I’ve been experimenting, want to see?
I started with high contrast blue and white Romney, spun and plied to three different weights: bulky, worsted and DK/fingering.
Here’s what I see, as the yarn gets thinner and the twists per inch number gets higher, the colors blend more, which I like, even at a high color contrast.
I tried the same experiment with some fiber I dyed last summer, that was blue, green, yellow and white – much less contrast. I spun and plied it on itself, deliberately getting it to marl.
Still stripey, but even more visually pleasant to me even at the bulky weight, because of how the colors work together.
Here are both color/weight experiments side by side.
Now I am thinking about how to use marling to blend colors, to get certain colors to pop, and to make a deep and rich colored yarn, and about what color combination or characteristics work best at each weight.
I kind of knew this would send me into a thinking and experimenting spiral. I love that about spinning.