Friday, 10 September 2010

Dyeing Experiments

After finishing off my yellow socks yesterday I decided the time had come to finally get round to the dyeing I had been putting off. I ultimately had 3 aims. 1) To speckle some rather bland looking Rowan Milk Cotton I had bought in the sale. 2) To do something with a skein of undyed sock yarn I had bought from Tall Yarns way back in March at the Stitch and Craft Fair. 3) To make a bit more progress experimenting and playing with the monster fleece I washed earlier in the summer. The dye I chose was a simple, in theory boring, Dylon handwash in colour Tropical, which had an excited looking Macaw on the packet to indicate the colour. As I knew that both the Milk Cotton and the undyed sock yarn had a high cotton content I was expecting the colour to take quite well.

The milk cotton was laid out on plastic sheeting and concentrated dye was spooned over it. Then any excess was "mopped up" using the yarn (which I had skeined, instead of the centre pull ball it came in). This created a mottled effect.

Sorry for the blurry picture, I must have been excited.

The fleece and the sock yarn were tossed in the dyepot as per the instructions, with a bit less stirring to reduce the felting risk.

After an hour it was time to wash out the dye. First I washed the fleece,
Which has actually taken up a lot more dye than it looks like on this picture (sorry about my finger, again I can only blame my excitement!) but which is bizarrely patchy. At first I thought it might be that the brightly coloured bits were leftover yuck from when I got the fleece (and it was minging), but on closer inspection it seems possible that it's the very base of the fibre that has dyed better. Perhaps this part of the fibre lost more of it's lanolin when scoured, as the whole fleece is still pretty greasy. It looks like a felted mess, but I can promise it isn't nearly as bad as it looks, I've been spinning some of this fleece Andrew dyed black a while back, which is in fact purple, and it's coming out nice and fine.

Next I washed all the yarns individually and hung them to dry in the bathroom;
As is immediately obvious in this picture the sock yarn is not happy macaw green, but a rather putrid lime. Andrew of course found this hilarious. Part of me is excited, I've never seen commercial yarn this colour before. Of course most of me understands that there is a very good reason for that. One upside is that any socks I do make from the yarn will be great for the MODO show, as they'll certainly stand out!!

The milk cotton, despite being a little limier than I would have liked, is pretty much as I wanted it. So a successful day all round!

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