Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fiber dyeing ate my soul

Well, I tried some direct dyeing (paint then steam, a.k.a make a huge mess in the basement)

Some Finn top:

and some 80/20 merino/silk:

What you cannot see from my beauteous, carefully posed pictures, is I am STILL getting it fuzzed up around the edges - like a light surface felting. Maybe it's just compressed? I can't tell, don't have enough spinning knowhow.

and look at this insouciant little bit of Finn, previously kettle dyed pink:

This one was worse, it feels pretty much unworkable now. Breaks my heart, as I adore that little red-orange-pink-yellow-green bit at the beginning.

It must be something with my rinse, then? But I don't know how in Howandaland that could be, as I'm letting temperatures change slowly, rinsing after they've cooled completely, in lukewarm water, and I'm just sliding it into the water. No agitation, no squeezing, no nothing. I drain and refill the rinse bath a few times (yes, never letting the water fall directly upon my precious, precious wool), then hang them up. That's it.

These appeared to come out of the steam rolls compressed - they didn't expand much in the water. So maybe it's something in the steaming while squeezed up in wrap? ARGGHH.

I've got something else to try, just layering the fiber in a container then baking. No rolling up in plastic wrap tubes. Maybe that'll tell me if it's the cooking-while-compressed that's the problem?


Michelle said...

GORGEOUS! I'll be watching for answers on the felting. In Judith Mackenzie McCuin's book "Teach yourself hand dyeing Visually" says to expect a little felting during the dyeing process. Maybe it's just that?

Cookie said...

I still think you are being too hard on yourself. What I am seeing is nothing terrible.

The dyeing process is going to compact the fibers because you are getting them wet. However, I do not see any felting or anything else that would keep me from spinning up that lovely fluff.

When will you have enough sunshine to try solar dyeing? Might be something to think about if you're going to continue being so hard on yourself over there.


Michelle said...

I read another book that mentions slight felting during dyeing. The Twisted Sister Sock Workbook mentions it and has some other helpful advice/suggestions about dyeing. BTW since you don't spin, I'll spin some of the fiber up for you if you want.