Archive for the ‘dyeing’ Category

I got yarn recently to try out some toe up socks from Wendy’s new book. I wasn’t liking most of the colorways I found so I got plain natural Trekking Sport (which is, oddly enough, not sport weight) and some new colors of acid dyes. I mean, I can’t be seen wearing boring old commercial knitting yarn right? Anyway…

I made a really huge skein on the warping mill and painted it in sections while trying to not let the whole mess fall off the kitchen table:

partly dyed bundle of yarn

I must say it’s quite entertaining to get plastic wrap to perform on command and not stick to everything but the previously positioned section you were aiming for. But I got it all painted and wrapped in plastic and into the steamer. Out came exactly the yarn I was hoping for (much to my amazement!)

ball of yarn and swatch

The base color is blue with sections of purple and just enough red to leave a bit of bright color here and there. It took a lot of dye and much poking and prodding to get good solid colors but I’m very happy with the results. It’s a superwash wool, which I normally don’t like, but I also don’t like washing socks by hand. All reports are this yarn wears well so I may try this again.

Another thing I did while I was on vacation was color my hair. I had used henna before, a plant that produces a red dye, but only by itself. The instructions I have recommend combining it with indigo to get browns instead. I wrote up a quick page about it with some pictures.

I spent most of the day with the drum carder. Last week I pulled out several small bags of fleece to blend together and this morning decided I didn’t have enough. So out comes the collection of workshop samples and other odds and ends and between all the different kinds of silk I have enough to do something. Gold tussah, bleached tussah, bombyx multiple sources and a few wool/silk blends. I left some of the larger amounts for another project and took all the bits and stuck them in some blue dye.

While the color was steam-setting (three hours!) I started preparing the base fiber. I set aside the lightest color wool to blend with the silk. The wool was all combed out in the staple with a dog brush and then carded, the wool blend took three passes and the silk five (because it was all clumped together after being dyed.) Now the gray-brown and blue batts are ready, tomorrow I just have to do the final layered blend of the two.

There is probably about 200g of fiber, enough for socks and a hat or a large scarf. I’m thinking I’ll do 3-ply sock yarn and then see what I feel like making. The yarn should come out a tweedy blue-gray. I’ll have pictures later.

Here’s the organza I made blue:

indigo silk organza

It’s hard to get a good picture of sheer fabric, particularly when the room with good lighting has a striped sheet on the bed. But there it is. I gathered the fabric along both selvedges and then bunched it up and tied it with rubber bands, kinda like one of those old broomstick skirts. The folds of fabric all crammed together made the dye take unevenly and the rubber bands made white stripes where it kept out most of it out. Indigo isn’t very energetic when it comes to working around resists, like some other dyes that will wick under ties to color the fabric.

No, I have no idea what I am going to do with it. I got a bolt of the stuff on sale a while back and I’m mostly just playing with it. I typically make clothing from soft fabrics that drape well and organza is stiff no matter what you to it. It would make an interesting sheer layer over something else.

I had this week off, so some friends came over again. We made things blue. I gathered and tied about 5 meters of silk organza, which I’ll get a picture of later. I just washed it this morning.

Of course, we do what you should never do, dye stuff in the kitchen surrounded by food:

dye day work table

It was instant indigo, which is far less complicated than a traditional fermentation vat. I’ve done the whole big deal (with and without the stale urine part) and while that is technically interesting, I’m not going to do it in my kitchen in an afternoon.

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