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 Dyed some top today!
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Phaedra28
Gabber Extraordinaire

485 Posts

Posted - 08/17/2003 :  11:22:14 PM  Show Profile Send Phaedra28 a Private Message
Today I dyed half a pound of superwash merino top, and a short piece of merino/silk top. Some of it is just OK, but some of the deeper colors are WILD! I split the superwash top into one four ounce and two two ounce sections. The two ounce sections I dyed in similar hues, but differing intensities and shades. The deeper shades were made by mixing full strength dyes with a little black added (about a squirt to each color). The blue is so exciting I want to start spinning RIGHTTHISMINUTE!!! It's so hard waiting for it to dry! The other section I used almost the same colors, but added a lot more water, so that the colors are very similar, but lighter. My plan is to spin them both and ply them together, but we'll have to see how that goes.

The four ounce section I dyed with full strength dyes, sections of each color, and one section of the roving dyed with drops of all of the colors. That part inspired me to get out a short piece of merino/silk and drop dye that as well. I'm reserving judgement until I see how it looks spun up. The bright colors of the larger top, though, are inspiring enough to send me back to the bathroom every few minutes just to visit the tops and look at the colors!

All this is really just to satisfy that need for color until I get my cards, some silk noil, and some more tops. My next project will be dyeing some of the noil in bright colors, then carding it randomly into natural white wool top. I can't hardly wait! That'll make some pretty hot socks, huh? Might be my Christmas project for some lucky recipient -- like maybe ME!

What's your latest project? Tell, tell!

BessH
Permanent Resident

3095 Posts

Posted - 08/18/2003 :  02:58:14 AM  Show Profile  Visit BessH's Homepage Send BessH a Private Message
My latest project was teaching some 13 year old girls how to dye with koolaid - they dyed some unspun locks and then handpainted their first small skeins of handspun yarn. You could tell they were thrilled with their success and I overheard one girl tell her mom, "I'll have to teach you how, Mom". And her mom said "I'll buy Koolaid for this!".

One thing I've learned is that when you spin up these vivid colors they tend to be a good bit more muted and knitting softens the contrasts even more. the whole process is thrilling. Congratualtions on your projects.

Bess
http://likethequeen.blogspot.com
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berlinknits
Chatty Knitter

230 Posts

Posted - 08/18/2003 :  09:30:53 AM  Show Profile  Visit berlinknits's Homepage Send berlinknits a Private Message
That sounds so fun for you! Do tell how it spins up! I guess I'm boring (and a bit of a wimp!) but I still have not dyed any of my fiber! Now I'm spinning up some Targhee top I got and I am going to dye the yarn. I don't know why, but it just seems more manageable to me to dye yarn rather than fiber. I know I will dye some fiber at some point but just not yet. I am going to dye this yarn in a rich brown color and since I'm planning on knitting it into a Lopi style cardigan I am trying to decide on contrast colors for it. I keep looking at a light orange/yellow since I love that color but then I don't want to look like I stepped out of the 70's---in a bad way! It's fun to look at all the colors and scheme, though!

http://berlinknits.blogspot.com
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Knitting Fever
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
548 Posts

Posted - 08/19/2003 :  7:23:13 PM  Show Profile  Visit Knitting Fever's Homepage Send Knitting Fever a Private Message
I just finished plying some merino I rainbow dyed pink and yellow. This was my second time playing with non-koolaid dyes. (I used the Gaywool dyes). I was not happy with my first batch of dyed fiber- which was supposed to be red, yellow and blue - it all mooshed together and made a muddy purple because my fiber was too wet. But the pink/yellow turned out dazzling. (And is still pretty bright after spinning) This was the first yarn I have been able to spin that made a sport weight yarn after Navajo plying. I think the merino I bought for this dyeing project must have been extra fine to spin up so thin. I think I am going to make mittens out of the yarn. I have also done some blue, green and purple, but have not spun it yet.

Carolyn

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Phaedra28
Gabber Extraordinaire

485 Posts

Posted - 08/19/2003 :  7:53:54 PM  Show Profile Send Phaedra28 a Private Message
Well, BessH, I tested some of the top -- just about a yard of each once it was spun -- just to see what it looked like. I really like the deep colors, and will have to remember that for next time. When they were plied together, the contrast was good, and the colors looked nice together. The biggest problem is that the superwash top was too dry when I added the dyes -- I'd squeezed it out some, and superwash needs to be wetter for the dyes to flow. (Of course, this does make it easier to control where the dye ends up, but the downside is that the dye tends to stay where it lands rather than hitting all the fibers.) Next time...

Right now, I'm playing with the spot dyed merino/silk, which is pretty disappointing. I don't know how much of that disappointment is the colors being so light, and how much is because I'm spinning it so fine, but the end result so far has been pale, peachy sorts of colors. Again, next time I'll know better.

Any hints on dyeing superwash wool top? How long to soak it before painting on the dyes? What's the best method for applying the dyes? (I've been using squeeze bottles and then mushing it a bit with my hands. That doesn't seem to work all that well...) How much dye to use?

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BlueStocking
Sustaining Member

USA
945 Posts

Posted - 08/20/2003 :  07:33:43 AM  Show Profile  Visit BlueStocking's Homepage Send BlueStocking a Private Message
Hi Phaedra!

Superwash is definitely alot different than regular. It's taking me a while to get used to the difference, too. My first attempts were too dry and didn't work out like I wanted them to, either.

I have found that soaking it for at least 30 minutes in water plus synthrapol gets it good and saturated. Then squeezing it out so that it's not dripping, but not really dry either. You can add your vinegar or citric acid to this soak, or spray it on later before steaming. I've done it both ways.

Lay it out on plastic and separate out the top so that it's not all in a thick cord. It's really difficult to get the dye into the middle if you don't pull if out flatter. Then, apply the dyes however ... I usually use a cup and pour a bit on and work it in. Bess just told me yesterday that she uses a plastic spoon to pour and work it on and I'm going to try that method, too.

You want to put enough dye on it so it is covered well, but the plastic wrap should not have dye on it. I use this measure to make sure there isn't too much dye. The fiber should be able to hold it all with the plastic wrap clean underneath. Because when you steam it, the dyes will run together somewhat anyway, and if it is really saturated with dye they will all run together. This is especially important if you're using lights and darks together, because the darks will run into the lights very easily, especially if the fiber is really saturated. Yellow is especially difficult to keep "true", and the "Twisted Sisters" sock book even recommends lifting the yellow up above the other part of the fiber in the dye pot so that the other colors can't migrate into it.

I find that sometimes I put on too much dye, and then I fold the fiber over onto itself on an undyed patch, and press the extra into it. If there's really too much dye, add another piece of roving entirely to soak it up. I personally like pouring it on and working it in, but sometimes I do pour too much.

Now, you could also try the "hot-pour" method on superwash. To be honest, I haven't tried this yet (but will be doing some next week), but have done it with regular merino top with great results. The "Twisted Sisters" has great directions for this method. The results of this method are really nice, too. You don't have quite as much control over where the dye goes as you do handpainting and steaming. Plus you need to make sure that the water is the correct pH so the dye strikes correctly, and that there is not too much water in the pot (otherwise the dye will disperse too much). But, it's fun!

I've been dyeing yarn all last week and this week, but next week I'm planning to move to merino top -- regular and superwash. Plus this amazing fiber that I purchased -- merino/cashmere and merino/silk/angora. Too Yummy! I'm thinking I'm going to do all these hot-pour.

There are some pictures of my latest yarns on my blog if you're interested!

Jen


"What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?"

http://TheSpiritTrail.blogspot.com
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Phaedra28
Gabber Extraordinaire

485 Posts

Posted - 08/20/2003 :  2:48:38 PM  Show Profile Send Phaedra28 a Private Message
I've used the hot pour method from the Twisted Sisters book on superwash, but was disappointed by the results. The tops all came out so muted -- and I'm not a muted sort of a gal. I'm sure the acid content was part of the problem, as was the very random processing. I'm a pretty random sort of a dyer, I guess.

What really interests me right now, though, is the synthrapol you mentioned: you mean like the detergent I use to rinse out the excess dyes? How much should be used for wetting superwash top? I've never tried that, although it does make sense.

Oh, and I'm chomping on the bit to get my wool cards and silk noil -- ALL I want to do right now is start that project. No, I haven't thought about what I'd do with the resulting yarn, I just want to see the colorful noils in the white wool! You have no idea how difficult it is to be patient right now...

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BlueStocking
Sustaining Member

USA
945 Posts

Posted - 08/20/2003 :  8:11:59 PM  Show Profile  Visit BlueStocking's Homepage Send BlueStocking a Private Message
Hi Phaedra:

Synthrapol is a wetting agent, not a detergent really. Here's the definition off of ProChem's website:

PRO Chemical & Dye 1-800-228-9393

Synthrapol: A concentrated liquid wetting agent and surfactant compatible with all dye classifications. Use with PRO Dye Activator to scour fabric before dyeing. Also recommended for the final hot wash of reactive dyes. May also be added to the dye bath to add levelness and aid wetting out the fiber.

http://www.prochemical.com/

I add it to the presoak, and also to the dye bath, especially when I do immersion dyeing. It doesn't take much ... a teaspoon per pound, I think.

Jen

"What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?"

http://TheSpiritTrail.blogspot.com
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