Sunday, June 29, 2008

I took the plunge...

straight into the dye pot! Finally, it is about time. I conquered my fear and decided it was time to dye. I recently took advantage of Knit Picks 40% off sale on books and added the dyeing starter kit into my cart as well. With these jars in hand as well as the books Color in Spinning, The Yarn Lovers Guide to Hand Dying, and the Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook, I finally had the ovaries to jump in and do it. I should preface this post by saying this is by NO means a tutorial.
I started by mixing some dye stock. The Twisted Sisters book said to use 2 tsp of dye to 1 qt. of water, the Jacquard site said .5 oz to one cup of water for a very concentrated dye. Well I had bought 1 qt. mason jars so I decided on following the former. Unfortunately I didn't read carefully and thought it was 1T. per qt. Well 3 tsp. is 1T. so it would just be a little more concentrated, which should be fine right? I started by mixing the T. of dye with a bit of hot water, making a paste.
I then dumped it into my quart jars and filled them to the brim w/ very hot water and then let them sit for 1 hr.
During this time my roving was soaking in some warm water w/ a squirt of dish soap. I could not find synthrapol when I did my shopping and my google searches reassured me that dish soap would suffice. (so now we have done two things wrong...oops...cross fingers). I bought this Coopworth Mohair blend roving at Los Vigiles Living Arts in NM last April, so it has been sitting around over a year waiting for me to put my big girl panties on and dye it.
Once everything was ready I mixed up my dyes in squirt bottles. I made a lovely red shade, a rich orange, a subdued purple and a teal shade as well as a small mess. I then laid the roving out in two matching zig zags on top of a layer of craft paper and then plastic wrap. I had two 4oz. rovings which I planned to dye to match. (ha ha). Once arranged, I carefully squirted on the dye in no particular pattern, well I did make a bit of a mess and some of the placement was a result of where the color spills were.
Over all it looked pretty decent, not quite what I was going for but hey this is my first time at this. I then put it on the rack in the electric roaster I purchased specifically for dyeing. There it was to cook/steam for 20 min. Oh shit, I forgot to spray it with the vinegar before placing my bundles in the roaster. Double shit, some of the roving has fallen into the water and some of the dye is bleeding. Out it comes, holy cow that is hot! I unwrap it and squirt it with vinegar and then back in it goes having been re-wrapped. Check on it 10 min later to find the colors are so much more vibrant now that I did the vinegar step. But still, with all these screw ups what exactly is going to come out of the roaster? A mess of brown muddy crud?
After cooling a bit and a vinegar rinse, and then another plain water rinse this is what became of my roving. Weird, I only remember using 4 colors to dye it and yet we have this rainbow of shades.
I am in love. Why did I wait so long to do this? If this is what I get when I completely screw things up imagine what the possibilities are! This could become really addicting.

I am on cloud 9. I have already rationalized my new hobby. I explained to dh that by learning all these new skills I am actually saving him money. You see I could go spend $100 on yarn and knit a sweater OR I could spend $ on fleece or roving and dye it, spin it, and THEN knit it. See all that entertainment and joy stretches the dollar so much further don't you think? Is Shuttles open on Mon? I need some more undyed roving stat.


bockstark.knits said...

ooooooh, great job!!! that looks fantastic!

Allegra said...

your roving turned out beautifully! you're a natural!

Lauren said...

It turned out great!

StarSpry said...

Way to go!!! It looks great :D