Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dying Roving

The month of January seemed to sweep past me, as we played a cat and mouse game of catch up from the busy holiday season. Zach is somewhat caught up on his orders, I've finished almost all of my after Christmas portraits and the long stretch of February has nestled in. I've been taking advantage of the cold winter days to really concentrate on some fiber projects. My goal is to start selling dyed roving and spun yarn.
I'm really happy with how this batch turned out. It has wonderful earthy colors like chocolate browns, golds and olive greens, with highlights of turquoise and plum.
Over the next few fiber posts I'm going to take you through the process of this batch from natural roving to finished, dyed, spun, plied yarn. I started by weighing the fiber. I have 4 oz here.
Then I heated 2 inches of water to a simmer in a large disposable pan. I snaked the roving back and forth one layer thick and glugged in some vinegar.
I'm using Jacquard Acid dyes, designed to dye protien fibers. These dyes are somewhat toxic so saftety precautions should be observed. Be sure to use gloves and a mask when dealing with these powder dyes, and any utensils used should be kept only for dying.
For this batch I used a sprinkling technique. (Since this batch I have found a method I prefer, I will share this with you in a future post.) Because the dye is being applied full strength the color is quite intense. My goal was to create a varigated effect so I applied the color in sections against the grain of the snaked roving. Another tip is to start with your lightest color, as it seems the darker colors need less time to absorb. I dusted the dye on, then pressed it down into the fiber with a plastic fork, spreading the dye through the hot water.
You can see how the dye powder bleeds and moves about. Some of this you can control by gently lifting the fiber and pressing in spots where you want the dye to run. Be carful not to agitate the fiber too much as you can felt the roving and then you can't spin it.
  After I've applied all my dye layers, I let it simmer for about 30 minutes. You know all the dye is absorbed when you pull the wool aside and the water is clear. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.

Once cool, I can drain the water and begin rinsing.

I rinse in warm water pressing the fiber gently each time. I rinse until the vinegar smell is gone.
In the winter, I have to dry in the house. Zach made me a makeshift drying table that fits in our stand up shower. A fan suspended helps speed up the process.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment