Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Don't count (out) your dye job before it's cooled

We've been hit with some heavy snows here in London, so last night was the first chance I have had to mix up my new dyes. I purchased Royal Blue, Pink and Turquoise acid dyes from the Handweaver's Studio via mail-order, so now I have a full range of colours available to me.

By the time I got the dyes mixed (and washed the worst of the pink and blue spots off my hands!) it was getting fairly late, so I skipped the roving plan and instead soaked some pre-skeined sock wool that I had tied some time ago. I wanted to do a turquoise and pink skein, with sections of purple where the two dyes combined.

In the crockpot, I heated the skein to 135F in a thinnish layer of water/vinegar/ecover, then carefully poured pink dye on some sections and turquoise on others. I then covered the pot again and left it for about half an hour, then came back to check on it.

I didn't have pink and blue. I had purple soup. "What happened?" I thought...

Oops. I forgot to dilute the dyes. WAAAY too much dye in the bath.

Disappointed at my seemingly solidly purple bath, I turned off the heat and let it cool overnight. This morning before work I removed the yarn. (I left the extra dye in the pot and will use it to dye another skein.)

Surprisingly, after a rinse I have discovered there's still sections of bright pink and blue amongst the purple. Once it's reskeined it should actually look pretty good! The colours are very vivid, too.

So today's lesson is - even if it looks terrible in the pot, don't give up, as you may be pleasantly surprised by the result.

I won't be home till late tonight but I will try to get a picture of that skein up here in the next few days.


In my previous post I talked about some new rovings that I had dyed and was waiting to get pictures taken of. Here they are!

First, a Texel wool roving in red, grey and purple:

Next, a matched pair of Falkland wool rovings in yellow, green and orange:

Finally, a Romney roving in orange, yellow and black. With this one I was trying to reproduce an "autumn foliage" roving I once saw in a raffle.

All of these are now on the Sheepshape Spinning Etsy shop!


Brigid said...

I was interested that you only heated the dye bath to 135F. I've been going to just under boiling point - about 200 degrees. I'm using Landscape dyes. Have you experimented with temperature?

Elizabeth said...

Hi Brigid,

135F was the temperature recorded on my crockpot after it had been on High for about 15-20 minutes. I only got the thermometer a few weeks ago so before now have not been able to judge temperatures. I am hoping to record temperature a lot more often now and see if there are any noticeable differences in effect.