Thursday, March 3, 2011

Some fiber work

   I have actually been doing some work with the wheel and the needles - I just never post.   I recently began some socks with a stretch yarn by Patons - Stretch Socks -  that I am really enjoying.  It is easy to use and knits up fairly quickly.

 I started working on them in the car on the way down to Ocean City last week.  This was a miracle in itself, as I usually get carsick if I try to knit in the car.  I always have Dramamine in my bag, but that makes me fall asleep.  The answer seems to be Seabands - I knew they existed, but only recently found them. They are bracelets which have a small bead that pushes into your pressure points on your wrists and helps relive/prevent the nausea. Yeah!
   I have also been dyeing and spinning some Corriedale rovings.  I have been playing with Wilton dyes - the gel type. They are a lot of fun because most of the colours fracture. The pure pigments stay pure - the Red red I used stayed, well, red.  Others like brown and black break into the dye components mixed to get that secondary/tertiary colour.  You get a very freeform, and sometimes unexpected, result, but all had been beautiful.

   To start the process I fill the crock pot about 3/4 full with water and a couple good "glugs" of white vinegar.  I then put the roving in - soak it  for anywhere from twenty minutes to 3 hours - depending on how busy I am that day or what else I get distracted by.  I then scoop a blob of gel dye out and dissolve it in a small jar with hot water in it.   I  pour the  dissolved dye into the  pot, gently moving some of the wool around with a knife/chopstick so some dye goes towards the bottom of the crockpot.
This is black dye fracturing

 Then turn the heat onto low and gently heat until the water/vinegar is clear meaning all the dye has been taken up by the wool.

 After that, some folks turn off the heat and let the wool cool before rinsing. I am not that patient.  I scoop the hot wool out and rinse the wool.  No dye runs out, but it minimizes the vinegar smell.  Hang it to dry and then spin or felt as you wish.

The results of a good sized blob of black dye.  For lighter/softer results, use less dye.

The red Red cam out pure, but irregular, so I poured yellow over the finished product and let that cook in as well - I love the results.

Brown fractures with orange and greens

The resulting coloured  wools spin up beautifully. I am really enjoying this and can't wait to start knitting up some of it.  I really like the brown, since burnt sienna is one of my favorite browns and this has a fair amount of that in the final product.
   The nice thing about this process is it is a safe way to introduce children to the fun of dyeing - the food grade dyes are not going to hurt anything (but their clothes - wear smocks!) and they have the excitement of seeing the coloured break into the base colours. 

1 comment:

  1. OMG, I must see the black fractured once it's spun up. MUST.