Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Nothing is ever lost

After a dyeing experiment gone wrong (don't know why its a mistery) my 200g of white wool came out grey in different shades. I had applied red/green/ yellow dye but it seems all those colours disintegrated and made grey. Not even a nice grey!

So, I tipped the wool out of the pot and without rinsing it threw it back into a  Blue dye bath for a while.

 And this is the result.

It looks like the colours in a clear blue stream with some different shades of blue and a very light hint of green.

Very useable!

I called it "Blue Stream"

100 gr of joy

I called it "Frog on a lilly pad"

Friday, December 9, 2011

You'll only know if you try!

It is easy to dye a skein of wool or two.

But when you wish to dye a decent amount of wool to use on 1 project, like a jersey, it is so difficult to get the whole lot dyed evenly if you do it in different batches. Even if you just want to dye it 1 hue, you'll find it is merely impossible to achieve consistency all over the amount of wool in the pot. If you use different hues in one project you are often left with uneven distributing of colours, darker here lighter there.

That is my experience anyway. I may not do things as they should be done and I am definitely not the expert on these matters.

I must say I oftentimes just feel like being creative with colours, grab some wool or yarn and throw some colours in, turn on the heat below the pot and while it is simmering do some boring stuff like vacuuming or so.

Mostly it is not scientific or measured or calculated at all. And it doesn't cost me much time either.

(As it came out of the pot)

The bonus is that it gives some factor of colour and surprise to your day and it makes the chores okay if you are waiting for your dye pot to finish its thing while doing them too.

Anyway I am wanting to make myself a sleeveless vest of some sort so I need a decent amount of wool.

I only had white wool, that needed dyeing, but I did not want a plain effect.
I only have a smallish stock pot.
How do I dye 500g of wool evenly in the same hues with these limitations?
It is said that wool need room in the pot etc etc.

(The bottom of the pile)

Here is what I did;

My wool was in a sliver (carded) all coiled up like layers of pancakes, rather then in a ball.

I placed a layer of wool (soaked first in water with some vinegar added) in the bottom of the empty pot.

Then sprinkled some russet red (Jaquard) powder on.
Next another layer, with bright yellow dye powder and then a layer with skye blue dye powder.
These layers I repeated till the pot was just about full ending with blue.
 I sprinkled the dye randomly, over the layers, it did by far not cover all the white, rather fell in little clumps here and there. (sorry I should have taken photos).

Next I added water with some vinegar in, pouring it along the side carefully, rather than plonk it in on the top.
I pushed down the wool very gently, so it was just covered.

I put the pot on the gas and left it there at least an hour and a half or so (Vacuuming, tidying up...) gently heating up and simmering away. No stirring.

When done I tipped it all out to drain and all through this post you've seen the result.

 (The side on view)

 (And the inside, with stack folded open)

I found it surprising that the top and the sides of the "stack of wool" appear more pastel, but the core of the stack has quite vibrant, warm colouring. It is amazing how the colours have managed to run and mix through all those layers. With rinsing no dye ran, all had taken.

It is a lovely result, better then I had hoped for.

The top photos don't realy do the colours are some with little clouds of the dried fibre in a basket.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Up Close with Alpaca

With my Homeopathy College Class we were invited to take part in a Large Animal Clinical Training day.
So we visited farms where homeopathy is used on animals.
One of those was an Alpaca Farm.

Homeopathy and Fibre coming together! What more could I wish for?

I had not had the opportunity before to be very upclose to alpaca and this farm visit was an amazing experience.

Being a farm girl myself was obviously an advance over my city dwelling student collegues for whom the whole farm seen was a novelty experience.

But I learned heaps about Alpaca, their care, their habits and their fiber as well as their health issues that on this farm were treated with homeopathic remedies. 

They even showed us how Alpaca get shorn and this is such a different event then the sheep shearing we know.
It was this little guys first shearing, but he tolerated it very well and was treated wit kindness all through. 
He is of the Huacaya variety of Alpaca which has very light and fluffy beautifully soft fibre (not wool, but hair)
And below you can see how little animal is left after the fibre has gone.....don't laugh!

Anyway, I could not help myself and asked if they would mind if I took a little bit of the fibre home to spin and try (I have only ever spun Suri Alpaca which is heavy and sleek, though beautiful in itself too.)
 So I did take some............boy was it nice to spin!
I want more!!!

It was only a very small amount and I wanted it to last so I spun it very fine as you can see.(It made only 106 yards, prob 2.5mm needles),
I thought it would be nice to take the end product to class next time, to sow my class mates what can be done with the soft fluffy delicious stuff. As most of them have no idea.

And then when I had spun it and plied it all up I thought some colour would be nice too.

I used Acid dyes in yellow, orange, pink and red with a cold pour method.

It turned out quite lovely and sweet. Some of the beige original colour still visible.

And now I am thinking what is this going to be???????

PS thanks Laura for the alpaca photos!!

Socks it is!

Because it is nice to see the finished product I want to share with the the socks I made from the yarn in the previous post.

Aren't they gorgeous!

I used a pattern for Toe-up socks.

The second time I've used this pattern and I am loving the Toe-up design. It is much easier to knit a sock this way and you make a perfectly fitting sock for whoever you are knitting for, without finding yourself running out of wool for the foot. Starting at the toe, now you just keep going till you run out at the top.