Sunday, April 30, 2006

dyeing to show you (photo heavy - sorry)

there are advantages to having your husband travel on a regular basis, the first is being able to work until midnight with anyone complaining that they are a: neglected b: lonely or c: hungry - wheres dinner?
As a seasoned part-time single mum, I took full advantage of my beloved's trip to India, firstly to get as much mothering into Charlotte as I could before she returned to NZ, and secondly to dye 30 25 g balls of merino and some leftover angora and alpaca.
My dyeing methods are slightly unorthodox, but they work for me. I explained a little to Kerry (sadly blogless, delightfully calm, interesting and interested, sock mad member of SSK )anyway, I expect to see great things from Kerry in a fortnights time...he has obviously been reading a fair bit about dyeing yarn recently and I caught the glint of enthusiasm in his eyes.

Basically I assemble myself thus:
- spread a huge sheet of plastic (not gladwrap) over the kitchen bench
- fill both sinks with warm water and a squirt of dishwashing liquid, one for soaking the skeins of wool, the other for anything that gets in the way of the dye.
- soak the skeins for 20 minutes
- assemble my stock dye solutions in plastic bottles
- assemble jars and paintbrushes, one for each colour I am going to use
- make a pile of tea towels and paper towels for spills and to wrap around the jars to prevent drips
- squeeze the skeins and arrange them on the plastic, then proceed to paint them in your desired colours, I usually paint various shades of one colour before I proceed to the next (planning is vital) I use Ashford dyes, sometimes the dyes take very well, and clear water may start to pool under the skein, mop this up with paper towels, as it may dilute the colours on the underside of the skein, (check after every colour application that the colour is coming through on the back of the skein)
- cooking - this is the unorthodox bit.
I use a microwave cake dish, the kind with the funnel in the middle, (ring cake mould), I take the wet skein and place it in the dish, then cook it on medium for 5-7 minutes (test with your own microwave) when the water runs clear - it's done. I then place the skein on a towel to cool down for a few minutes, before placing it in a sink of warm water with fabric softner added(my way of avoiding static build up in the yarn when I am skeining it)

arrangement of skein in the microwave safe dish.

here are some of the results of this latest endeavour, once again I used organic 3 ply merino, laceweight alpaca and 10 ply angora, I am always amazed at the different ways the yarn takes to colour. The merino was scoured with an organic scourer, and ended up a dirty cream, so takes the colours in quite a muted way,(top of page)

the angora (above) takes the dye the way I imagine when I am dreaming up colourways.

The alpaca was cream to begin with, and ended up rather more muted than the merino (left of the photo) but thats ok, I like these colours, even the colourway which is all blues, pinks and purples - made with the leftover dye, Kerry said they were quieter, like my personality, and he was right, well, until the champagne cocktails kick in!

And the other advantages?

missing Flash, absence does make the heart grow fonder, and the "I'm going to be away on our wedding anniverary and I haven't told you yet" multicoloured sapphire bracelet - and what makes it even more special, is that he chose it himself, and it's me to a "t".

thanks honey, I'm glad you are home safe.