By  on May 10, 1994

NEW YORK -- The American Wool Council is bringing a new treatment to the U.S. that allows wool yarns, fabrics and garments to be dyed in two colors in a single dye bath.

The treatment was developed in Europe, and the council, which represents U.S. sheep growers, is arranging partnerships and licensees for the process in the U.S.

In the U.S., the process is called Dye-Active American Wool. The cross-dye effect is achieved through combining pretreated and untreated wool fibers and yarns, according to Mary Stipe, promotion and fashion director of the American Wool Council. The process can be used on 100 percent wool and wool blends with precious fibers.

"The whole point to the process is that you can get interesting novelty or heather effects in one dye bath," Stipe explained, while displaying a variety of wool jerseys, sweater knits and wovens that have used the treatment.

"You play the treated and untreated yarns against each other and you then put the fabric into a dye bath, and because of the way each yarn takes the dye, you can get two-tone effects in a single dye bath."

The use of a one-dye bath enhances turnaround time for Quick Response, Stipe also noted.

Hanora Spinning Co., Woonsocket, R.I., is the first U.S. company licensed for treating the fiber or yarn. Ocean State Finishing Co., Woonsocket, R.I., has been licensed by Hanora for the dyeing and finishing of the process. Britannia Mills Ltd., here, is producing the jersey fabrics.

In addition to stripes, soft heathers for jerseys is a big item, especially for fluid layered looks, Stipe said.

There are many possibilities for designing fabrics, added Stipe. Tweeds, rag and marled effects can be created and other fibers -- such as a rayon yarn -- can be integrated into the mix for a multicolor effect.

Colors for the jersey fabrics are currently being shown in a range of neutrals to taupes, browns, and blues. Bright colors for garment-dying are also available, including a marigold and rust or turquoise and royal blue for a sweater stripe, an animal pattern or a checkerboard knit."You can also do a plaid and a herringbone," Stipe added. "A mill can offer an extensive range with minimal inventory."

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