April 13, 2009

custom ice dub blends

I love Angelina. This is basically the product Hareline uses to produce its ice dub line. Since I'm too cheap to buy the Hareline stuff from a store, I like to make my own. Not to mention that custom dubbing blends allow you to make any color dubbing you want, including colors not commercially available by Hareline. The freedom is yours to experiment.

ice dub blends
I like the look of ice dub, but I don't like how it wraps on the thread. It is too coarse and fibrousy, and doesn't wrap on the thread they I would like it too. In my opinion, the straight mix of Angelina fibers is lacking body and a good binder. Herein lies the challenge, many of the great synethetic fibers, perfect for dubbing, are extinct and out of production. Acquiring materials like antron, zelon, or sparkle yarn, can leave you hostage to the few vendors who managed to scrape up the last of the world supply in order to make a tidy profit. Basically any acrylic or antron fiber (or blend) similar to 3 ply sparkle yarn will be a fine substitute. The Needloft craft yarn I discovered last fall is an excellent antron substitute. The only problem I have is that the fibers bind up, much like antron, and get natted up in the blender when making up the mix. You often need to pick out these dingleberries from your blend.

I like using the 100% acrylic latch hook yarn from MCG Textiles. It blends smoothly, and gives a lot of body. I'll throw in a bunch of aurora Angelina for the ice look. Depending on the color I'm going for, I'll add black, or a corresponding color in varying amounts that will give a variegated look when spun and dubbed in to a body. On a traditional dubbing blend, I'll typically use hare guard hairs (wrapper) and underfur (or other filler) to adjust the color composite of the blend. On an ice dub blend, I'll use the Angelina fibers (wrapper) in a similar manner, to achieve the desired effect; the antron/acrylic remains constant as the filler and binder.

red ice dub
purple ice dub
black/peacock ice dub
A product of the purple ice dub blend: the Purple People Eater.

purple swimming nymph
I picked up a bunch more colors of rug yarn this past week, most notably, a bright orange for a scud mix. I'll be posting the results of those blending sessions down the road. In the meantime, get out the mini grinder or blender and let it whip. If you impart any genius and come up with a killer blend, pass it along so I can share it with the rest of the readers. Cheers!

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  1. Those are great looking colors. Does the latch yarn you're using allow for use on the full range of hook sizes, or would you recommend a certain range of sizes where it's most effective?

    It's tough to tell from the photos - but it looks mighty buggy.

  2. That purple people eater looks like it would be a great steelhead fly up here in NY.

    That dubbing looks like some killer stuff.

  3. @KB MCG has a pretty good variety of colors, both bright and muted. A far better selection than other manuf. I've seen. The mix is indeed buggy as hell; there is hopes that some of the fibers will trap gas bubbles on some of the patterns. If you wound the fibers tight on the thread, you probably get by on nymphs down to 16, but I typically tie in the 6-12 range, with 10 being the most common.