Mélange, Jaspé, Ombré
… Everyone who is interested in the world of yarns and fashion will repeatedly come across such terms and possibly wonder what they mean. Using our new mix&knit Fashion Pieces yarns as an example, these textile terms and the various effects can be explained.
One thing that all the Fashion Pieces yarns have in common is their chainette construction. Chainette (French for ‘chain’) is simply the term for a chained construction, but these days yarn specialists use this term for yarns which have been made with a very new process. For traditional chain yarns, a yarn was first spun and then made into a chain, with the help of a type of ‘knitting dolly machine’. In contrast to this, the chain of the Fashion Pieces yarns is created directly from unspun fiber and stabilized by an extremely thin thread of polyamide. The advantage of this technique lies in the light weight of the yarn. The amount of a chainette yarn needed for a project is approximately 30% less than the required amount of a normal yarn. Yarns made with chainette construction have a slight stretch effect so they are also ideal for making shape-retaining or fitted garments.
For this effect, often also referred to as ‘heathered’, the fibers of a combed top are dyed and then mixed before spinning. Normally one part dyed fiber and one part undyed fiber are mixed, in a proportion which depends on the desired color intensity. It is also possible to mix more than two colors. In this manner, lovely intermediate colors can be created which can be wonderfully combined with other colors. Strong, bright colors can be subdued by this method.
This effect also begins with two different dyed combed tops. In contrast to the mélange yarns, the fibers are not mixed thoroughly. Instead, equal amounts of the two different colors are spun in parallel. This results in a more rustic play of color, in which each of the two colors remains clearly identifiable. This means that garments which are knit from jaspé yarns make wonderful coordinates. A similar effect to jaspé is called marled.
The color gradient which is typical for this type of yarn begins, once again, with a dyed combed top – with more than two shades, according to definition. Instead of being mixed (mélange) or spun in parallel (jaspé), the different-colored fibers are laid one after the other in a band of fiber – for example, one section of dark brown, then lighter brown, and beige… During spinning the fiber band becomes much thinner and fibers blend at the boundries between two colors, thereby forming a color gradient. In English, this color effect is more often referred to as ‘ombrè’.
For the color effect of the Spot Color yarns, tiny “nubs” are printed on the yarn by a roller. This effect has a very short pattern repeat and imitates a modern tweed effect. This yarn can be wonderfully combined with yarns with other effects, in colors which repeat those of the spot printing.
This is not a technical term. Instead, it is the name of the Fashion Pieces yarns which have a percentage of Tencel fiber. They were given the name ‘Intense’ simply because this fiber takes the dye especially intensively and also creates a pleasing sheen.
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