Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Little Marbling

The process of marbling woolen fabric gives magical results every time. I don't know about you, but it never ceases to amaze me.

For those of you who are not familiar with the process, the amazing results, reminiscent of book marbling are achieved without any dyes. The dry pieces of wool are just layered, alternating lights and darks, then rolled together, twisted and tied to secure the twist. The bundle is then placed in boiling water, and left to simmer until the dyes of each respective piece bleed on each other. The results are striking, giving a fabric with variations that will add movement to my rug hooking projects.

For this little marbling sessions, I started with four pieces of recycled wool, a burgundy, a camel, a soft grey, and a cream.

I layered the pieces...

Rolled them...

Twisted the roll, and tied it...

I cooked the bundle for about 50 minutes, and added a shot of vinegar to set the dyes, and let it sit in the pot for another few minutes.
I rinsed the fabrics, gave them a spin in my washer, and dried them in the dryer.

Here are the results. The cream fabric came out with lovely rich berry marbling, with touches of camel, the grey fabric with camel and burgundy marbling. The camel fabric darkened to a rosier camel, and got subtle burngundy marbling. The burgundy fabric kept its deep color, but with added highlights and "lowlights".

I am very happy with the results. It will be so much fun to use these fabrics in my next project. The pinks and berry tones will look lovely in the heart I have in mind.

I always have fun marbling woolen fabric! I love the surprise as you untwist the roll. It is a little like a cracker jack!

I am planning on dyeing more fabrics today. This time to create married textures that will work with my marbled fabrics.


  1. Thanks for commenting on my blog....now I've found you as well. I've done lots of dyeing, but only a little bit of the marbelizing....it is fun and magical isn't it?! Love your photography!

  2. Thank you Tammy for your comment. I love your work. You have inspired me to try handcutting my pieces. I have been a quiet rug hooker for a long time. I am enjoying writing about it very much.

  3. your marbleized wools came out beautifully! nice work, love the look of your photos, too.

  4. Thanks for the information, I may want to do this, I love the dye fabric.

  5. Just tried this yesterday for the first time. My results are very different than yours but nevertheless the pieces are gorgeous. Do you know if I could re-use the wool pieces which have already gone through the process?

    Thank you so much for the great idea.