On the weekend I decided it was finally time for me to get back on the dyeing experiment bandwagon... so I dug out some goodies and got to work!
About 6 months ago I purchased 10 pounds of wonderful Merino top, for the express purpose of playing with and dyeing... and maybe someday when I get half decent at it, dye some to sell? I plan on buying some more professional dyes, but the closest LYS that sells them is 2 hours away, so needles to say the plans are there, but I am still using food colouring dyes for the moment. I also plan on trying some Kool Aid dyeing in the next few weeks. I want to make purple yarn for my mom as a special treat, and I think maybe Grape Kool Aid will be one of the easiest ways since we know that Wilton's Icing Colours tend to separate depending on the colour you are in search of.
This partcular day the goal was just to play with what I already had in the house. I decided to try a modified "kettle dye" approach. I soaked my merino in water + white vinegar for about an hour, then poured the wool and soak into large glass pyrex baking dishes, leaving enough water to cover the wool.
Then I mixed up my icing colours with hot water and a little vinegar for good measure, and using a children's oral medication syringe, I squirted the colours all over the wool trying to keep the puddles somewhat separate. I was hoping to keep a little of the undyed white areas, since I like the way these look in some of my past projects. (I find the depth of colour is interesting when there is some "white" there to shade the colours... gives more variations and subtleties) I know some spinners out there HATE seeing any undyed fiber in their finished braids. I'm not so opposed to it, especially when I'm dyeing for my own use.
Once the dye had been applied, I popped each baking dish into a 350 degree oven, one at a time, for about 10 minutes, or until steam started coming off the water. I kept each tray hot but not boiling for about an hour, and then left them to cool completely. Once cool, I rinsed carefully in a sink full of cool water and hung outside to dry.
This is one of the combinations I ended up with:
"Painted Daisies" - 2 x 4 oz. braids of 100% Merino Top
Excuse the dreary pictures... I took these after dark one night so I could start spinning it right away. It rained cats and dogs last night in a big thunder storm. We got completely soaked leaving the grocery store, the rain was coming down in buckets! not the best weather for snazzy photographs exactly
After a little drafting and then spinning.... this:
... which was promptly 3 plied: 2 strands of painted roving and one strand of undyed white merino top (to try and tone down the colour a little bit, mellow out the Bright Yellow!)
Here is the finished yarn peeking out the top of my purse (in my drawer at work) it was just staring at me from over there so I couldn't help but take it's picture. The yarn fades from yellows into pinks, into creams, but in a random fashion, so I'm not sure exactly what it will knit up like. I am thinking I would like to make socks with it, since it is somewhere between fingering and sport. I'm thinking maybe another pair of jaywalkers? It will be stripey, but not exactly solid stripes, more variations of colour floating by
This is skein number one... and there is a second waiting to ply at home tonight. I just need to finish spinning the natural single and then the plying will be a fast job.
... one more gratuitous yarn pic :)
When I finally get around to finishing and knitting something up, I'll post the finished project!