Sunday, July 5, 2009

Hand painting fun!

I spent the week hand dying some BFL and Corriedale top from Louet. I used Greener Shades Dyes, which are heavy metal free. They are easy to work with and the results range from muted shades to vibrant colors, depending on the amount of dye used. I've found that a little bit goes quite a long way.

My goals were to create a space dyed effect with each roving, and although the
space dyed effects I ended up with are varied, the colorways are awesome.

The two tops above are each 8 oz. of Blue Face Leicester wool. I dyed the violet-pink and blue-green colorways first. Then I got a little more adventurous with the 4 oz Corriedale tops below.

To dye these tops, I filled my dye pot with hot tap water and added the top, making sure that the water did not completely cover the fiber. Then, I mixed each dye colorway and poured them in one at a time, making sure not to cover the entire top with one color so each individual color would come through in some places and blend in others. Then I gradually raised the heat until steam was rising from the edges of the pot but the water was not yet bubbling. I held the temp there for ten minutes, then added the citric acid and held the temp for another ten minutes. Then I removed the pot from the heat and allowed it to cool while the colors absorbed completely into the fibers. When the dye water was clear, I knew I could drain and hang the top to dry.

I also finished spinning a blend of huacaya fiber (from Devi :D ), suri alpaca fiber, and camel down. I allowed the short fibers of the camel down to create a tweedy effect in the yarn. The suri added some luster, and the huacaya added softness. I ended up with a drapey, tweedy, two-ply fingering weight yarn that yielded about 150 yards. The suri is a cinnamon color that blends very nicely with Devi's fiber, and the camel down is a light brown that adds another dimension to the colors of the blend. It was fun to spin, and the rolags looked beautiful as I carded them with all three fiber types together.

*PSA: All of the yarns and fibers in this post are available for sale in my etsy shop!

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