Thursday, March 11, 2010

An experiment in dyeing

A couple of weeks ago I took a synthetic dyeing class at the Mannings, a knitting, spinning, weaving shop and school in East Berlin, PA, just outside of Gettysburg. I learned how to use synthetic dye to dye yarn and roving. There are several methods -- immersion, dip-dyeing, painting. It was a lot of fun. It was amazing how a little bit of dye, vinegar and heat can transform a skein of yarn into some colorful hand-painted skein you could be paying top dollars for.

I decided to apply the knowledge I learned to my handspun and roving. I wanted to see how different dyeing spun yarn and dyeing roving and then spinning it would make. So I started with a skein of merino yarn I spun and the same roving.

After soaking both the yarn and the roving in a vinegar bath, I dunk both in the pot on the stove and pour in the dyes. I was using Gaywool dye colors Indigo and Cornflower.

I let the yarn and the roving simmer in the pot for about a half hour then turn off the heat and let them cool. Then I dumped out the wet matted blue wool in the sink:

Several hours later after they dried:

The roving is more verigated than the yarn. The yarn is more semi-solid. I think it was because the dye striked the roving more unevenly. I will spin it up and see what it looks like plied. More fun to come!

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