Sunday, March 1, 2009

Random Fiber Stuff I've Been Doing

So I got around to dyeing my first handspun (100% alpaca, single ply, bulky-super bulky) a couple weeks ago, but haven't posted the results yet. Here's what I did:

1. Soaked yarn in pot filled with water and a splash of vinegar. Low heat on stove.

2. Mixed colors: 3 packets lemonade/1 cup water, 2 packets orange/0.5 cup water, 1 packet pink lemonade/0.5 cup water, 1 packet strawberry/0.25 cup water.

Inspiration: Orange Rose

3. Microwaved dyes in tupperware for 2 min. Added yellow, orange, and pink in random parts of pot. Added red in one part of pot.

(If you squint, you can see the tiniest bit of pink in the center.)

4. Observed helplessly as red slowly spread throughout the entire pot, overtaking other colors.
5. Let dyebath exhaust on the stove. Let water come to boil for ~ 1 min to allow alpaca yarn to felt a little. (Background: I read somewhere that alpaca does not make a good single, as it has a weaker memory than wool. Someone on the Spindlers Yahoo group said that she slightly felts her alpaca singles when washing/setting the twist.)

6. Let yarn cool in dyebath for a few hours. Mmm... fat red worms in warm milk... the cornerstone of every healthy breakfast ;)
7. Washed and rinsed yarn in a little detergent and warm water. Did something you're never supposed to do when washing and drying feltable yarn: agitated yarn in water and wringed out water by twisting yarn (again, to help it felt slightly).
8. Let yarn air dry. Forgot to take picture of finished skein.
9. Wound yarn into a ball, releasing some over-twist.
10. Forgot to take picture in good daylight, rushed to take picture in fading light of sunset. (Many apologies.)

There is a LOT more red in the yarn that I wanted. It looks pink in the picture, but I can't see any pink in person - most of that is actually red.

Lessons Learned in the "Hot Pour" Method of Dyeing Yarn:
  1. Less volume of water = more control over where the dye goes. This applies for both the dyebath itself and the water that goes into mixing the dyes.
  2. If I did this again, I would probably start with the red and add it a little at a time to one or two spots. Then add the pink and orange, ending with the yellow. I'd probably wait until each color exhausted before adding a new color. It would take longer, but it would be worth it if the color turned out how I wanted.

Here is a progress picture of the Scrunchable Scarf I started on my trip to the East Coast.

I'm going to use the entire skein of Lionbrand Homespun, so it'll turn out pretty long. It's taking me a long time because I only work on it a little bit at a time.

Over the past month or so, I've been expanding my drop spindle collection. I had been storing them in a drawer with my unspun fiber, but I didn't want them to get all dented up (especially the new ones from ButterflyGirlDesigns, so I came up with a new way to store them:

I cut out a long piece of foam board and punched holes with a knitting needle. I tied loops with scrap pieces of yarn.

From left to right:

I also bought a cheap skein winder from theknitstore on Ebay, so now it's easier to wind skeins for dyeing.

And just for fun, here's another picture of Berniece. I was taking a picture of her from my balcony.


Lupie said...

Thanks for all the instructions!
I hope to start dyeing yarn soon.
Berniece is a doll!

Phil said...

I rediscovered your blog. I love what you're doing here. It's so cool! Keep up the good work and let me know what's going on with you!


Amybel said...

Good for you on the dyeing! I want to do it but not brave enough...yet.

Anonymous said...

thanks - I linked thru the Ravelry dye forum - I appreciate your explanations of the Hot Pour method and I love your red yarn. I will be trying this very soon - I've already dyed 3 skeins with Rit and Dylon....

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Tallguy said...

Oh,yes, when you are doing the hot pour method, you do not put the yarn in water! The yarn has to be soaked, and cooked (either in hot water, or in the oven) and then the hot dyes are poured on the skein. The dye will strike immediately and you won't get the red to run all over like that. If you have water in the pot, the dyes will all mingle and make one homogeneous shade. You can then cook the yarn in the oven a little more to make it permanent, and that's it! Try it once more.