archive for 'dyeing'
nope, spur of the moment dyeing
i didn’t quite envisage the blood-soaked bandage effect when i started, i’m hoping (praying!) it evens out a little in the steam pot (25 mins down, 20 to go). i’m hoping the dye will bleed (heh) a little more and create pinkier areas inbetween, but of course i now remember that diluting this red dye just makes for light red rather than proper pink.
it all started this morning with madam’s wistful “i wish i had a scarf” as i put mine on. i realised this was indeed a terrible oversight in such a house of fibre. i fancied a bit of cheering up, and the pile of paperwork awaiting me failed to offer any such prospect, so i turned to food dye and fluff to do the job.
the yarn is one of the first things to come off the wheel, a merino/tussah blend (although i can’t see much obvious sign of silk). it may be enough for matching hat or mitts too. the process is dead straight forward: soak the yarn well in vinegar and water; squeeze out most of the wet and lay onto cling film; paint with food dyes diluted with vinegar and water (plain water/vinegar can be used to blend and further dilute the colours); wrap cling film up (package can be wrapped again to prevent escapage) and steam for 45 minutes; wash, rinse.
i’ve applied the dye fairly randomly and in short stretches because i definitely didn’t want a striped effect for this yarn and tbh i’m not particularly keen on variegated yarn in general. i was hoping for a more pointilist or tweedy effect with very short stretches (ideally single stitches) of the lighter colours, a gently speckled effect. i’ll be interested to see whether the plan works out and will post it as soon as it’s knitted, i get really frustrated seeing all these yarns about that look so beautiful in the skein but i suspect might look rather nasty once knitted up, but never getting to see the finished article.
will update later, its time’s now up.
(note the plural )
for the first time in what feels like months i’ve actually finished something! fingerless mitts made from this pattern from handspun merino/silk blend, dyed with food colours. a lovely easy knit, although i did have to rip back when i realised there was no way my holey m1s were ever going to be taken for a deliberate lace pattern as i’d hoped i was finding getting into the back of the loop almost impossible beause it was too tight. i finally managed it by going into the front of the loop and then sliding over the left needle while staying under the yarn (if that makes any sense at all).
i’m much happier with the yarn than i was when it came out of the dyepot. it was lovely to work with and there’s just enough colour variation to be interesting but without being out-and-out variagated, which i’m not so keen on. the sheen of the silk really shows too. the rather unattractive bloom on the yarn which i took to be felting i now think was just patches of very fluffy merino. knitting has made those patches pack together and become denser, more colourful and less alarming.
i got my dyepot out for the first time in ages last night. apart from a non-trivial dropping-a-bottle-of-colour-all-over-the-kitchen-floor incident it went pretty well. in keeping with my ongoing turquoise fetish i managed to mix a very nice blue-with-a-hint-of-green. the yarn went in first, handspun merino/tussah blend. the silk took up the dye a little more than the wool, but it’s rather less exciting than i hoped, perhaps it will improve in the knitting. it’s the first time i’ve dyed merino and the yarn felted a little. i’m not as conscientiously gentle as i realise i should be when i dye and i’ve avoided merino thus far because of that. it’s not a disaster but it is noticeable, though i’m not sure whether then end result would have been better or worse had i dyed the fibres before spinning.
second in, along with another hefty glug of vinegar and a colour top-up, was a piece of felt. it’s a mix of merino and bfl. the top layer of one side is bfl and the sheen it gives compared to the merino is noticeable and rather lovely. this took the colour a treat, and while it’s not totally even i’m very happy with it. shocking the boiling hot felt out of the dyepot straight into a bowl of icy cold water tightened it up a treat too. i just love the waffley, seersuckery texture of well-and-truly-fulled felt.
it’s officially baltic here at the moment (i checked with helen, she’s just back from estonia, she should know) and i finally have slippers
these are version 0.2, version 0.1 having disintegrated within about 48 hours of completion the new ones have a thicker felt – dyed bfl and natural black welsh – and a leather sole. the weak point of the original design was the toe, so i’ve cut the pieces with the thickest part of the fabric at the toes. the fit gradually stretched to become too loose, so i’ve reduced the size of the upper piece.
the leather is suede side down for grip. working with it was surprisingly challenging – not to even be contemplated without a sturdy leather (gloving) needle and thimble. the work was slow and nervewracking, i was lucky to escape with a few minor grazes and no significant impalements. i found it marginally easier to work from the leather side rather than the suede side and bent both the smaller (but sharper) needles before i settled on the sturdy one. punching holes with an awl would have been another option, if more time-consuming, and i think the only one if the leather had been any thicker.
the other major problem i had was getting my handspun thread through the eye of the leather needle, which was really small. even using the very thinnest parts of the thread was virtually impossible. in the end i tapered the thread as much as i could and stiffened the end with pva glue, which worked a treat.
that said, it only took a day’s sporadic work to get them done once the felt was made. i have a little of the handspun contrast thread left and i’m contemplating some embroidery on the uppers. i’m not totally happy with the “scary crocodile” effect the blanket stitching has when turned inside-out but could minimise that in future with an even-slightly-matching-thread. i did consider using the blanket stitch on the outside, but i’m not so keen.
will update on their use-worthiness.
nikki-shell: it’s summer over there right? what use could you have for wool felt slippers??? lol, i’m on the case, as soon as i know they won’t fall to bits in the post!
not enough yarn to make it a partner
the yardage on the pattern said 80, but i guess that must be per mitten. there was 177 yards of this bfl when it came off the wheel (before washing and dyeing) but the one mitt took 5-and-a-little-bit colour repeats and i only have 3 left. i didn’t swatch since it was easy enough to try as i went along and it’s bang on size-wise.
i’m in a quandry what to do next: spin some extra and try to approximate one of the colours then use that for the cuffs? spin some extra and dye to a co-ordinating colour then intersperse that as another stripe? spin some extra don’t even bother to frog the first and just have them unmatch? just do something different with the yarn? i do love the mitten though, fits perfectly (apart from over-tight cast-off, obviously) and is super cosy and soft.
the pattern was great, really easy to follow, and i learned how to make 2 stitches together. wasn’t sure what “reverse loop” was so did “knit left loop then knit right loop” as per knitting help. also learned how to pick up stitches around the thumb which worked out really well with no gaps (once again yay for kh).
the yarn is the very first thing i spun on the wheel and i’m super pleased with how it turned out. i had to keep hauling it off the bobbin and running it through again to add extra twist when i was plying, i much prefer a nice tight ply, and it came out absolutely totally balanced
the self striping was a cinch too. i just wrapped the yarn around 2 chair backs the length of our front room apart to make a really long skein. then i marked it into 3 with yarn and each third went into it’s own bowl of dye in the massive pot. the only tricky thing was handling a skein that length, especially for rinsing, but in the end i just hauled it of all the bowls and dumped into the sink (handily enough our front room isn’t exactly huge, so the skein was just about manageable).
the colours were supposed to be greyish-purple, greyish-green and grey, but came out damson pink, khaki and greyish-pink respectively. i lost my nerve with the purple and addded extra red after the skein went in, hence the pinkness. i wanted to add a little warmth to the grey so mixed in a spoon or 2 of the “purple” bath, but that red sure is insistent, a little goes a long way. again to help the colours blend i added a little “purple” to the green and again the red has dragged it too far towards brown. all that said i love the accidental result (accurate colours here).
the thing i liked best about all this is that it didn’t take much longer to do than it did to write up. it was fluff at lunchtime and knitted before bed.
not her work but dig the caterpillar cushion:
and how’s this for colour inspiration?
this was supposed to be a basket to store yarn, but i severely underestimated how far my yardage would get me. this is all 95 yards of handpsun #7 transformed into a thing 12″ by 5″ by a paltry 2″ high. i gained a little extra height with the picots which are totally out of keeping with the yarn and the rectangular shape, but i actually quite like it. i’m using it to (try to) keep my keys, cards and other essentials together.
i made it up as i went along, starting with a long spiral, squaring it out by increasing just at the corners and not along the ends. i realised i’d have to change to rows when i got to the sides as the spirals make for a single-sided fabric, fine for the base, but not the sides. on the first side row i worked into the back loops only, which makes for a nicely defined corner.
it’s worked with a small hook for the wpi (4mm iirc) and the fabric is pretty tight, it’d stand up a bit more if the picots didn’t make it wider along the top row. i’m pretty pleased i’ve got a (semi) functional item out of what was all along a colour experiment. i can’t believe how all the colour repeats happened to fall together though.
sweetgeorgia – spinning/dyeing/knitting blog, plenty of inspiration to be had.
… is currently cooking this is a very very scary thing to do with my best yarn yet.
i went roughly 60/40 merino/bamboo for the second ply and it’s worked out as i wanted – roughly intermixed, not even (as if i could even if i wanted ). i’m hoping this will give some interesting colour effects, as i’m assuming the bamboo won’t pick up an acid dye.
the overall blend works well together, there’s a definite smoothness from the bamboo and a subtle sparkle from the angelina (i would have preferred a little more oomph, but the price of the angelina held me back a little), and it’s gorgeously soft and squishy.
from first impressions it’s surprisingly even across the length of the skein and it looks pretty damn balanced too. i plied every spindle so that it looked overplied judging by the dangle test, but it looked and felt “about right” to my eyes. this was my first time plying 2 separate singles rather than either end of one, and the shoebox lazy kate took a little tweaking. when i was just running the yarn straight off the (cardboard tube) bobbins i was getting all kind of twisted kinkiness, so i went searching for how to tension it. turns out it’s dead straightforward, you just run the singles over a hook. or in my case 2, to get the tension i wanted. handily enough we have a row of hooks along the bottom of the mantelpiece for stringing xmas lights, so i could take my pick. after that it was an easy enough – if long and dull – job.
i’ve gone very unscientific with the dyeing. soaked the skein in vinegary water then dyed with food dye mixed with vinegar in a variety of blues. i diluted the colours a little with more vinegar and water when they didn’t cover the whole lot. i think it might come out rather even and rather dark. if it comes out at all – i realised i have no idea whether our clingfilm will withstand steaming…
and i have a stats: the skein measures in at a whopping 261 yards, avg 18wpi.
and here she is:
i’m so attached to this one it even has a theme tune: elliot smith’s in the lost and found. absolutely couldn’t help myself humming don’t go home angelina…
my second batch of food dyed tops are cooking now. i’ve gone for overkill on the colours, and despite my firm intentions to do 4 different greens i just couldn’t bring myself to do it, so we have 3 greens plus a red.
dark khaki green: 55g + 16y + 6bk +2r
mid leaf-green: 25g + 25y + 6b + 1bk
lime green: 30y + 9b
deep red: 40r + 15y + 1bk
i altered some of the colours once the fibre was in and it wasn’t looking how i hoped, particularly to deepen the dark green and add blue to the over-yellowy lime. i was quite happy to swish the fibres around in their pots given the cheviot’s immunity to felting. i’ll also be quite happy if there are variations within the colours, i’m not aiming for solids. in fact i really should think about space-dyeing and steaming in clingfilm for the next batch.
update: i think my problem is i’m too much of a perfectionist for this experimental dyeing lark. i’m reasonably happy with the outcome, 3 patchy greens in a variety of shades, though nowhere near as much difference between the colours as i was hoping for. the red’s successful in one way – a good rich red, but pretty much solid, no interesting variation, and it’s still a little primary for my taste, perhaps one more drop of black might have tempered it a little.
now i’m not sure what to do with them. i was planning to do random (small) handfuls then navajo ply, but i’m not sure whether to include the red. i think i might go for 3 skeins – 1 just greens, 1 mostly greens with a little red and 1 mostly red with a little green hopefully that way i can avoid a majorly stripey or muddy brown effect. i guess i could overdye some of the red a little darker. maybe.
not that i have so little spirit for adventure, just that i’m very picky about colours. it might actually be more worth my while to buy dyed rovings, especially with more expensive fibres like merino or silk. what’s fun at 25p/oz becomes less so when you double that and double it again.
update: definitely not happy with the red so i’m partially overdyeing: half the amount water/vinegar so some of the fibre sticks out above it. colour is deep rusty orange: 30y + 5r + 2bk.
ditto with the dark green: 30y + 5b + 2bk.
i did notice more colour bleeding out when i re-wet the top, so maybe it’s worth upping the amount of vinegar in future, sure it can’t hurt.
update: the red came out more orangey but not significantly darker. i think i’m being fooled by the appearance of the black in the dye bath – it’s a lot darker than it turns out in the wool, so i haven’t been adding enough.
update: i’ve got 2 colours i’m happy with – the original “leaf green” (which has turned out more limey) and the overdyed dark khaki green which has come out very camo. now i’m more concerned about turning out usable than repeatable colours so i judged the last dye baths by eye. just straight green for the lime, hopefully with the yellow underneath it should make a reasonably strong, clear mid-green. then red + black and dipping half the red (as i do like the orangey red i already have, it’s just too much all together) this bath was very dark, so i’ll keep a close eye and maybe pull it out half way.
final update: pic of the colours now i’m finally happy. nearlyt impossible to get an accurate colour representation.
so here we are – the end result of a chain of experiments. hand dyed with food colouring, spindle spun, crocheted, felted (ish). i was planning to spin a super-fluffy white yarn to trim the edges, but it fits madam perfectly now, any extra rows and it would be down over her eyes. i think she’s finding it a little itchy, though she really likes it and wouldn’t take it off for the first half hour.
the yardage was spot on, had just about enough left to do ties for the flaps but i won’t bother as i like it well enough without. i adapted the interweave crochet pattern to fit my gauge and made the flaps wider and more tapered (decreased at both ends not just one). after i’d dyed and spun i read somewhere that cheviot doesn’t felt easily and boy is that true! it’s slightly tightened and fuzzed (and faded!) but hasn’t really felted at all, despite a thorough hand-bashing plus full length 90Âº wash. it fit me just right before fulling and it’s shrunk just enough to fit madam now.
this is a shame as i’d been relying on my large batch of 56s (i.e. the cheviot) for multi-purpose dying and felting experiments. it’s not really soft enough for next to skin so not sure what i’ll do with it now. actually i do, i’ll keep dyeing and have a go at some baskets using the kitty bag technique for extra rigidity.
the colour fading was quite dramatic, which is useful to know. it happened in the machine, not the sink, so i guess if i had a felty fibre it wouldn’t be such a problem. the yarn next to it shows what the edge trim and bottom of the earflaps looked like before the hot wash.
my prize for finishing my annual accounts was to play with food dyes.
i had to stock up with a load of equipment as my previous sacrificial dyepot got majorly and irreparably sacrificed to mixing mortar in my absence . i was really pleased that i managed to find a huuuge stockpot, four 2 1/2 pint jars and a colander for just over Â£20. i should probably have a rack to stand the jars on too, but as they’re oval shaped they tuck nicely against the edges of the pot so aren’t directly over the heat if it’s on low.
i have a batch cooking right now. i decided to start simple and just try for 4 even colours, following the method here. i’m using some of my cheviot, divided up roughly into single ounces. they seem to fit about right into half a jar of water. i’m trying for intense colours – red (25 drops of red), lime green (20y+6b), orange (20y+5r) and pink (9r+3b). right now the pink’s looking the least convincing, too pastelly and too purpley. oh and 1/4 cup vinegar per jar. i pre-soaked the wool in warm water with olive oil soap added and didn’t rinse, just squeezed. tried to match that temp with the dye water temp then all over a low heat, i guess until they exhaust.
will update with pix…
as they are now, cooling down to tap temp before i can rinse. the camera’s slightly intensified the colours, especially the red. while i like the variation within the colours i think i’d probably head towards a total of 30 drops per jar to get them to really zing – i wonder whether these will mute more in the spinning. only one way to find out…
they’ve definitely turned out pasteller than i’d have liked. and while i don’t mind a bit of variation i’d still prefer them more even. so i reckon increase the water to 2/3 jar and perhaps double the amount of dye. i’d also go for proportionally less red in the orange and more blue in the green.
so this won’t do for my initial plans but the colours still work well together. will spin up and hopefully make something for dd.
more various dyeing info:
Using Food Coloring as a Fiber Dye
I’m always looking for a cheaper or easier way of doing something, which is how I started using food coloring to dye fibers. To me, Kool-aid was hard to control, and too expensive to use on a regular basis. I also questioned why I needed all that other stuff in the ingredients list of the Kool-aid. But I did want something that I could use to dye small amounts of fiber in a variety of colors that was not too toxic to work with around children. Mine always want to help when it comes to the dyeing parts. The thought then came, what is the active ingredient in Kool-aid that I am using?—food dyes. What is another way to purchase food dye easily and for less cost?—-those little bottles of liquid food coloring I have always used to dye my Easter eggs with. The wonderful thing about them is they come in just blue, yellow and red. I now have at my disposal the three primary colors in an easy to see form and the bottles are even designed to dispense a drop at a time. Now here comes the great news, food coloring dyes don’t need much heat to set.
The process I use requires:
–old glass quart jars, (glass gallon pickle jars can also be used)
–four color box of food coloring
–wet wool or other animal fiber
Fill the glass jars 1/2 to 2/3 full of warm water. Add 1/4 cup distilled vinegar to each quart jar. Now take the bottle of liquid food coloring and add drops of color in the jars of water until the water is very dark or just experiment . I usually figure at least 20 drops of color to a jar. The drops do not have to be all the same color and there is no limit to the combinations possible. If you want to get very scientific with the process, the number of drops of each color can be recorded and then it could even be repeatable, I think, thou I have never tried. After the color is in the jars, add wet wool to the jars. The fiber can either be loose uncarded fibers or small skeins of yarn. The first wool in will be the darkest and the shading will decrease until the dye is exhausted. If the wool is wet with a soap solution and the soap in not rinsed out before adding it to the dye, the colors take even better. The process of setting the dye or getting darker colors can be assisted by putting the jars in a hot water bath canner for about 30 minutes. The water in the canner needs to only be level with the top of the water in the jars. If the jars are covered, there is a chance the color from one jar will migrate to another jar. Another way to darken the color is to set the jars in the sun for a day and watch the color exhaust in the jar. Neither of these hot treatments is really needed. I actually just set the jars on the table overnight and had dyed fiber when I pulled the wool out the next morning. I have some fibers which were dyed this way as surface designed on my felts which are now going on 5 and 6 years old with no major color fading. I have also used paste cake dyes. The problem I found with them was the same one encountered with Kool-aid. The dyes are a mix of different colors and the results were less predictable. The paste dyes were also harder to get dissolved in the water in the jars. The advantage of using cake dyes is they are more concentrated than regular food colors and the amount of wool it was possible to dye with one container of cake dye was well over a pound before the pot was exhausted. It is fairly easy to have a special place to put a case of quart jars to reserve them for dye use only which can also address the issue of dye fibers out of the same containers in which food is prepared. This way of dyeing is also fun to do with children, because the color combinations are so unlimited. It even teaches color theory when they aren’t even thinking about it.
16oz dock leaves
Rusty iron water (water in which rusty iron has been soaked)
“Tear the leaves into small pieces and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for an hour. Strain off the liquid and add the clean wet wool simmering for about an hour. Lift out the wool and add rusty iron water stir and gently replace the wool. Simmer without stirring for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse in soft water with a cupful of vinegar added. Wash and rinse thoroughly. Using this recipe substitute Ragwort for the dock leaves. I have found it gives similar colours as the dock.”(green, browns & yellows)
edit: my horticultural correspondent says nuh-uh to the the ragwort. apparently it’s really toxic to horses and prolly not much better for people. there’s even laws against it. blimey.