Saturday, June 5, 2010

Some new batts I have been working on for Phatfiber Sampler Box

I finished carding one set of samples last night and I am hoping to get the other samples carded tonight. I want to mail everything off on Monday morning. These batts contain some SW wool in green, some merino in light purple, dark purple, gray, and espresso bean. I also added in some charcoal bamboo, some silver glitz, and some firestar that I hand dyed in espresso bean. I really like the overall layered look. Here are the full size batts:

and then the samples:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Dyeing roving and yarn simplified.

Dyeing roving and yarn simplified.

 This is one way I prepare my hand-dyed yarns, combed tops and roving. This method is for dyeing protein-based fibers, and some synthetics.

 Start with a bucket 2/3 full of hot tap water and mix in 1-2 Tablespoons citric acid per pound of fiber to the water. Gently place your fiber or yarn into the bucket to soak. Let it soak at least 10 minutes. The wool needs to be thoroughly wet allowing the acid to penetrate the fiber.

 To try this at home, you will use koolaid and vinegar as your dyes. They are non-toxic. Just mix the powder with a bit of vinegar and hot water to make colors you like. Prepare your dyeing surface. Spread out a few old towels and then spread sheets of saran wrap to work on. I also make sure I have all the dyes in reach and gloves handy.

 Use a strainer and drain your wool into it. I usually catch the water in another bucket to reuse it. I press gently on the wool to help get rid of excess water, and then I lay my pieces out on the saran wrap. Next I just start pouring color where I want it. You can also use sponges to dab it on, squeeze bottles for better control. Use what makes you happy and have fun.

 Once the dye is on the wool, I wrap the saran wrap around the individual pieces, making sure every bit is covered. Now I put the pieces of saran wrap covered wool into a microwave-safe glass bowl. Into the microwave and steam for three minutes, afterwards leave it alone for five minutes. Check that everything is covered and moist, we don’t want it burning. I repeat this cycle three times in total.

 Let cool completely then gently place into a hot soapy water bath. Do Not Agitate the water. Let soak for several minutes then strain the excess water out. Repeat the process with hot plain water to rinse. Lay flat or hanging to dry totally before touching.