March 26, 2011

this is more like it

These colors look better in person than on my monitor, at least to me. From upper left to lower right we have superwash merino roving, light gray alpaca roving and cream alpaca mini batts. There are differences in how this lot was processed compared to the earlier purple and scarlet baths.

The first bath, scarlet, and first purple/black bath I weighed out the fiber and aimed for 3-4% of the fiber weight when measuring out the dye powder. By the way, I don't think my digital scale is to be trusted. The dye was then added to the warm water in the pot.  The fiber was added.  The vinegar was added to the pot. In the case of the scarlet, I didn't pre-wet the merino, but I did pre-wet the merino/possum blend that went into the purple.  Also, I just reused the scarlet dye bath water for the purple lot.

The second purple batch I tried to use less dye powder, more like 2-3%. I wanted some color variation in the roving, so I added the vinegar to the pot before I added the pre-wet merino superwash. After waiting for 5 or 10 minutes, I decided there was still enough dye in the pot to add some more fiber, so I added the alpaca, sort of random amounts. It actually took up more dye than I expected. I added a little more vinegar.

All the batches "cooked" for at least 20 minutes, and were then soaked in a "Soak" bath of warm water and rinsed in tepid water. I sure hope Evan pays attention when I tell him to wash his red socks separately.

There is one more dye experiment just finishing up, a cashmere/silk blend 2 ply that I spun up some time ago. The natural color was lovely, but something I'd never wear, so I mixed up some green dye bath using sky blue and yellow. I tossed in the pre-wet silk cashmere blend, poured in the vinegar and after a few minutes threw in a little dry skein of silk single I spun from hankies, and some more vinegar.

And here is the result.

Either the cashmere took up all the yellow/green, or the silk really likes the blue dye. There was still some green in the dye pot when these finished up. I love both the colors.

During all this playing with color and fiber I noticed that wool seems to dry faster than the cashmere or the alpaca. But I also feel like I can spin (I put the fiber into a mesh bag and swing it around over my head) more water out of the wool. The other two fibers seem to clump together more and trap more water.

Happy, happy. Now I can start spinning the red wool for Evan's socks.

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