Yesterday Theresa came over and we spent the day dyeing up some wool! I am very haphazard and do-it-yourself in my dyeing method. Next time we are going to attempt to mix up stock solutions according to the "rules" so that we can get some repeatable colors. But here's how we did it yesterday. . .
No pictures of this, but what we did first was get our colors together. We used lanaset dyes, which I got from Sheep Hollow. They have a nice starter kit with 12 colors, which is what I purchased. You just mix the powder and boiling water -- easy as pie!
First we soaked the roving. Last time I dyed, I used plain cold water, but this time I added a little vinegar to the water. (You can see our little color guide on the paper towel in the bottom left-hand corner.) Then you squeeze out the water. We found that the more water you squeezed out, the better.
Next we sprayed the roving with some vinegar and started to "paint". That's Theresa painting up some BFL. My wacky method? Mix up stock (unscientifically mixed, I'm afraid) in canning jars and use these stocks to create custom colors in the plastic cups. Apply to roving with a plastic spoon. I need to find some of those squirt bottles for applying the dye. (Anyone know where these can be found?)
Then wrap up the roving in plastic wrap and. . .
Cook it! I have a big old enamel pot reserved for just this purpose (you wouldn't want to use it for food after this!) I put a brick in the bottom and a metal trivet thing on top. A couple of inches of water go in the bottom to create a bit of steam. Then the roving-buns sit on top. Cook until you finish eating lunch or whatever.
Take the roving out and unwrap it. Then leave it to cool -- it's hard to be patient, but we had a lot going on to keep us occupied and it didn't take that long really. Then you just rinse out the roving gently in the sink. Squeeze out the water and . . .
Hang to dry!
Aren't they pretty? (And who knows which half is Theresa's and which half is mine? The colors should give it away.)
This morning the roving was completely dry and I pre-drafted it. This bit of roving was dyed using patches of yellow and yellow-gold.
Here's proof that you never know what you are going to get when dyeing. The first roving I dyed was done in green, navy, yellow-gold & magenta if I remember correctly. When I applied they dye I thought it looked terrible. But it went into the steamer and came out a completely different color. The magenta and yellow-gold gave me patches of pumpkin-y orange and the navy and magenta blended into violet. I can't wait to spin this one up!
So that was our little dyeing experiment. I'm pretty happy with the results and the actual dyeing was a lot of fun. I see more of this in our future!