Sunday, January 07, 2007

Dyeing Wool and Silk and Locks and recovering from furious holiday knitting...

Hi everyone! Long time, eh? I was so busy during the holidays and so burned out after that I sort of just melted and got nothing much done, including posting on blogs.

I finally got my butt back into the dye studio (ok, it's my kitchen!) because I had a couple back orders to catch up on and the usual happened...it's like sex, you know? Even if you don't feel like doing it, just DO IT and then you go...hey, I like this! This is fun! ha!


I managed to reproduce a favorite colorway that I had happened upon by accident one day. The original had sold but I vaguely remembered what I'd done and gave it a shot and came up with it! And I actually wrote it down :) I call it Summer Peaches because it reminds me of the inside of a really ripe peach...the darker reds are hard to see in this photo but they're there. This is some of the 50/50 wool/silk sliver that I cull out of the laps and dye for sale. It's amazing stuff! It's not in one continuous piece, but most of the pieces are pretty long and it's not a pain at all to spin like that. It's very open and kind of delicate after I do some post-dyeing pre-drafting, so I always roll them up into birds nests.

These are the same thing, rolled up. I don't do yellow a whole lot, but I love it ~ it just doesn't sell that well, which is a shame. It's such a great color! I always buy it when I see it at the shows because it's really kind of hard to find.
I've mostly been dyeing wool/silk laps, but also threw in the last of the border leicester locks from a recent fleece purchase.
The locks here are dyed with Key Lime...lots of variation there, because I never shoot for solids. I figure you can buy solid roving all day long and why go there? It's hard to do anyway. These are some of the locks I skirted out...they must be from around the neck because they weren't in the best lock structure and were a bit matted but teased apart, they're still quite nice.

These are dyed with a fiber reactive dye, one of my favorite colors to play with, Sunset Red. (it's a component of the Summer Peaches colorway) These locks are just the red alone, but it did the variation thing in the pot and has lighter and darker reds and orange/reds and even some yellows.

When dyeing locks, I put hot water into a huge enameled pot, with a tiny drop of soap and some vinegar, then sink the locks in and let them soak awhile before I turn on the heat. I usually add the color at that point, since the water is already hot and the vinegar will make it strike fairly quickly, which gives me the variation.

I do stir some, and try to keep the fiber moving around a bit while it's coming up to heat. The fiber reactive (which I use as an acid dye) takes longer to exhaust than the Sabraset or Washfast dyes I normally use. When the dye has exhausted, and I'm done adding dye to make sure all the locks get color, I turn off the heat and let it cool completely.

Then, I rinse once and put it into the washer to spin out. While it's drying, I tease it and keep flipping it around so it all dries and more of the VM comes out. I give it a good hard shake sometimes too, since with this fleece there was a LOT of VM. So much that I sent it off to a local mill to be scoured...it was way too hard to clean myself at home.

The locks are from a BL lamb and are pretty long ~ I found that they're best prepped by combing. The yarn isn't super soft, since it's BL but it's very lustrous and strong.


More of the wool/silk sliver that I dye and sell. I can't even describe how soft and yummy they are! This is a colorway that I'm calling Swamp Thing because, at first, it looked really dark and gloomy in the pot even though it didn't end up so dark and gloomy but I couldn't come up with another name. This just wouldn't be the dark and scary Swamp Thing..maybe his cute cousin :)


The laps on the right are a deep purple, blue and violety rose colorway, in the B grade wool/silk laps. I'm not a huge purple fan but lots of people are so sometimes I have to play with purple!


And finally, the same colorway in sliver, rolled up. It's really darker than it appears in the photo.

I figure all of this dyeing took me about 8 hours...there's more than this, but I worked on it for 2 days, just not all day. I have about 3 more colorways that I didn't show here

On the knitting front, I'm totally burned out but did pick it up last night and kind of half-heartedly worked on a scarf. Didn't last long. This whole Christmas burn out thing is NOT happening next year! I've actually started a UFO Knit Club, for which there will be a blog soon, and I plan to work in some sort of Christmas Knitting Club as well. One lady on the list said she tried to have all her holiday knitting done by Thanksgiving...what a perfectly lovely thought! I'll blog about the holiday knitting another time...I'm damn sick of it at the moment!

And I have to get to work around here...the buns need some attention and so does the house. We're starting to remodel and that's a whole 'nother post my friends! I haven't had much spinning time and that's starting to get to me, but I have been playing with some "spindle crack"...tune in next time for more info on that or read my post on the SSK Blog

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1 Comments:

At 10:22 PM, Blogger Rissa said...

That first one is just too yummy! Beautiful work.

 

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