12 Sep

Angora

I really wish that intending to blog actually resulted in a real blog post.

Kid Hollow Angora Goats

I spent last Saturday with these guys and I totally meant to share it. Aren’t they cute? They are baby angora goats and I love their curls!

Pretty much as soon as I arrived in Charlottesville I joined a knit night group because that’s an easy place to relax, meet people, and work on projects. Many of the members are also members of the C’ville Fiber Arts Guild and it didn’t take much arm twisting to get me to join their ranks. September’s activity was to go to Kid Hollow Farm and not only meet the cute baby goats, but to dye some angora yarn for ourselves.

Dyeing at Kid Hollow

The first step was to fondle all the yummy fibers in Pat’s little shop and then choose a color combo that we’d like to make (a few of us also purchased some yarn already dyed by Pat, ahem). Then we picked the raw yarn and wet it.

Dyeing at Kid Hollow

We were each given our own recipes for our color combos and cups of the necessary colors.

Dyeing at Kid Hollow

We poured and smooshed until we were happy. One recipe involved sprinkling the dry dye powder on the damp yarn, letting that spread a bit and then adding dissolved dye of the same color. It reminded me of the blotter paper and black marker experiments you do to see that blacks are made up of many different colored pigments. I’ve long known that colors separate and speckle when you don’t mix the dye powders well enough, but I never thought to work with that as a feature. The yarn turned out beautifully.

Dyeing at Kid Hollow

The dyes were heat set in the oven (the dye studio was of course completely separate from any food prep sinks or ovens).

Dyeing at Kid Hollow

Piping hot out of the oven, our yarns were then ready to be rinsed and spun out. Mine’s the one in the back.

Dyeing at Kid Hollow

I hung the yarn at home to finish drying and then wound it in a ball. At first I was worried that a few areas were too light compared to the rich browny, greeny, purple combo I was going for, but when the strands separated in the ball, it all looked sparkly and great. Now I just have to decide what to knit with it. I’m not ready to attempt socks, but maybe fingerless gloves.

20 Jul

Dyeing with Leftovers

Stovetop Dyeing

I’ve got two projects that require me to dye some fabric and batting (thanks to Judy Coates Perez for introducing us to the possibilities of dying batting — what I have in mind should be perfect for it). I checked my supplies, and since I don’t need specific colors, I found that I had enough on hand. Of course two of the colors were Procion and two were RIT. Oh, one of my batting pieces was wool, which accepts dye differently.

Yesterday we didn’t really have anything going on, so I figured I could wrap my head around a bunch of little batches of varying processes.

First I mixed up a batch of deep red Procion dye using 2 tsp Fire Red and 2 tsp Rust Brown. I used some of it to dye Quilter’s Dream Wool batting per Dharma Trading Company’s instructions. I used the rest of it to dye what I think is Hobbs Heirloom (a blend of cotton and poly with a denser feel than Quilter’s Dream) and Quilter’s Dream Cotton batting in the conventional manner with dye, soda ash, and salt. Left in the sun 1.5 hours.

Dye Day

It was an experiment in fibers. Left to right: the 100% cotton batting (unfortunately destroyed by the final washout in my washing machine, but took the dye very well); Cotton/poly blend — very mottled in the first piece where I had very little dye in the bucket, overall heathered look in the second piece where I had adequate dye in the bucket; underneath it all is the wool batting fixed with vinegar instead of soda ash — the wool took the dye well, but it’s scrim did not, and unfortunately most of the wool washed away into tiny bits in the final washout. Word to the wise: hand wash dyed batting!

Simultaneously, I dyed some cotton gauze and bits of lace (some previously dyed) in Procion Pearl Grey (only 1.5 tsp as that’s all I had left) in the conventional manner. It all dyed just fine, but was a nondescript very light grey. So, I overdyed it figuring that if it was completely covered that was OK, but if bits showed through that was OK too. I used RIT dye sort of following their stovetop method. I wanted the look of the low water immersion method, but I didn’t want to use my kitchen microwave (which really belongs to my landlord and is rather upscale). I have dedicated pots for dyes and felt more comfortable using them.

Dye Day

I had this piece in two pots on the stove at once, and then overdyed just one end later in a third pot (first photo).  From left to right I used, RIT navy blue and sunshine yellow; RIT taupe and dark green; Procion pearl gray (which is actually under all the other colors too); and RIT taupe, teal, and dark brown.

Dye Day
This is what else was in the taupe and dark green pot.

Dye Day
This is what else was in the taupe and teal pot that I thought was too green so I added brown, but I added too much, so it’s just brown.

Dye Day

The last batch was overdyed with RIT dye also using the stovetop method and 1 tsp Navy Blue + 1 tsp Sunshine Orange and a lot more water than the first two batches. Most of the fabrics were cotton or a cotton blend. However, the far right is Lutradur (a kind of interfacing) that accepted the dye completely differently. Interesting.

Despite the batting blowout and the seemingly blah colors, I am very happy. My concept for the batting is to use it where something is being cut away in a raw sort of way, so the batting looking like viscera isn’t an entirely bad thing. The other project needs stone colors, so I think that the muted grey, green, and browns are just perfect.