Friday, January 27, 2012

Dartmoor dye project.

This week I spend two days with friends dyeing fiber. We had a wonderful  time. It is so great to share a common passion and to learn from each other.
Three of us spend one of the days on a dye project we had done once before. We had enjoyed it then. But as too many people were involved at that time we felt we had not quite achieved an optimum result and wanted to repeat the experiment to understand the process better and see the results we would achieve with precision of the application of the process applied.
We worked from 10 am to 4 pm through  “The Dartmoor Project”. I have no information on the origin of this exciting dye project but it is a great focus for a dye day for a small (3 or 4) group of people.
The aim of this excersize is to dye 1 raw fleece (approx 4kgs), and achieving 48 lots of different shades by dyeing, dividing and cross dyeing 3 lots of fleece in sequence using the same dye.
Using 4 pots, the 3 primary colours plus 1 other (say green) in 1% solution, acid dyes.

One fleece is divided in 3 dye lots. Each lot will give you 16 different shades. Because raw fleece is used each shade contains different shades of its own again, ultimately.

Round 1;
The first dye lot is divided in 4 pieces and each added to a dye pot holding one of the ‘original’ dye solutions yellow, red, blue, green.


Round 2;
Once dyed these 4 lots are taken out of their baths (Do not tip out the dye!!!) and rinsed once and each divided in 4 pieces again. Of each achieved colour 1 piece is kept separate while the other three are each added to a different dye pot. So;
1 yellow piece is kept, 1 goes in to the red dye pot, 1 into blue and 1 into green.
1 red piece is kept, 1 goes into yellow dye pot, 1 into blue and 1 into green.
1 blue piece is kept, 1 goes into yellow dye pot, 1 into red, 1 into geen.
1 green piece is kept, 1 goes into yellow dye pot, 1 into red and 1 into blue.
Each dye pot thus holds 3 pieces of fleece (we used net curtain to separate) each with a different base colour. Resulting in a different shade when dyed.

Each dye bath is topped up with its original colour and rounds 1 and 2 repeated for each of the two other raw fleece batches left.

All through the process the dye pots change colour and because of the raw fleece used will become ‘muddy’ all aiding to the change in colour along the way.
This is a very fun and worthwhile project, that gives amazing and surprising results.
It is however time consuming  (each dyelot needing at least 20 min to simmer) with preparation and rinsing and dividing of lots etc.
Depending on how precise you wish your results to be it requires quite some focus regarding documentation of the colour progression etc. Therefore  it is best suited to a smaller group of participants, so each can actively participate and understand the process.
Also idealy the end result will be divided up and each participant will want to take home a piece of each of the 48 shades achieved. The more people, the smaller the amount to take home.

Here is the link where you can find instructions on the application of the dye process;

Friday, January 13, 2012

My mohair heaven.

From these two slivers,

Left; a mix of black Alpaca 80% with red yellow pink Silk 20%
Right; Ash grey shiny 100% Mohair

I spun (already some time ago) 1 single each and I plied those together. To get this;

Then using the following pattern for a lace shawl;

I knitted this shawl.

You see it here while it is blocked up (= damp from washing and stretched and pinned to the carpet to enhance shape and pattern)

The colours are very difficult to photograph...

 But if you look closely you may see the hint of colour that the silk provides.

It is 168cm/67.2" across the shoulders and 76 cm/30.4" down the back.
And I still have yarn left!

It has turned out much more beautiful then I had imagined it. I am happy with the result.