December 29, 2010

1850s Multicolored Yarns

Pearl wool and Chine Wool were multicolored wools similar to multicolored yarns today. In the late 1850s, these yarns were a relatively new style. These yarns were dyed alternately white and one or more colors, about 1/4 inch to 1/2 and inch long of each color. This yarn was used in scarves, hoods, and decorative pillows. This very pretty, sweater vest is possibly made out of pearl wool.

Another type of multicolored wool was "Clouded Wool." Clouded wool was  Clouded wool was wrapped in corn husks,paper, cloth or string every two or three inches apart before dyeing to create a white and colored effect. Clouded wool was popular in the 1840s.In later years clouded wool was made by combing two different colors of dyed, raw wool together before it was spun. Blue clouded wool socks are referred to in many early 20th century books and a possible "clouded blue sock" can be seen at the Wisconsin Historical Society. 

Below is a pattern for a knitted comforter or scarf. It is knitted with pearl wool and black to imitate woven plaid. For reenactors, if you can find 100% wool with 1/4-1/2 inch color streaks, a knitting project using it could add some much needed variety to the group impression.  


  1. And in my reenacting knitting group we only use solids. . . We have been horribly deprived! :)

  2. Trying to stock a civil war area merchentile store in my old building. I appreciate info like this. It can be difficult to put together.


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