Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dyeing day

I’ve been wanting to learn how to dye with Fiber reactive acid dyes. Many other spinners said that Procion MX dyes are the best. However, when I read all the chemical I needed to use these I almost fainted. After awhile of thinking on this, it didn’t seem any more complicated that dyeing with natural dyes and applying mordant.

I purchased a drying rack at Bed, Bath and Beyond. This handy-dandy thing can do double duty as a skeiner. My regular skeiner wasn’t big enough to open up the yarn to paint. I just laid the rack on it side and wound the yarn around, tied it off and voila! Almost ready to dye.

Next I soaked the yarn and fiber in Synthrapol, a detergent that allows the dye to saturate the yarn more thoroughly. I soaked it over night.

I got up early and started to assemble my work area and supplies. I have a old table in my patio that is perfect. I covered it with old plastic trash bags and saran wrap two areas for painting my first skeins. I didn’t forget to put my mask on as I mixed the powdered dyes with water. The dust may cause allergies in some people and one should not breathe the dust powder. All that was left to do was to add the soda ash fixative. The instructions says once this is added it starts a chemical reaction that helps fix the dye to the yarn. I had 6-8 hours to use it up before it lost its strength. I bought a dye kit with the three primary colors lemon yellow, fushia and turquoise.

The first skein seemed very rich and dark so I thought I would water down to get a lighter shade. This was great. It was fun painting the different mixtures of color on the yarn. I really liked how this dye looked on the Cotton Sugar and Cream yarn I bought. It will make some nice baby clothes.

Using the dyes on wool wasn’t as satisfying. It didn’t seem to deepen the color. I really had to saturate this and it still didn’t look like it took very well.

I rolled all these skeins in plastic wrap and set them aside to set. This is called the "Cold-Batch Method". It doesn't use heat.

One one skein of wool I tried to dye putting it in a jar of three different colors to enable it to saturate more evenly. I layed it on the plastic, painted in the gaps and rolled it up for setting.

The roving was more of a challenge. I decided to squeeze the water out. Put a little water in to keep it moist and with a squeeze bottle applied the dye on top half and half. I pushed it down gently to help it saturate the rest and them covered it with the lid.

On merino --On Churro wool --On Mohair (Rose)

After about 6 hrs of setting, I decided to try to see how one skein would rinse out…….and disaster has struck! Most of the dye rinsed out. I think that as I added water to the dye to lighten the shade, I should have added more soda ash fixative, which I didn’t.

Now what? How will I set the rest. Perhaps some heat will help. I’ll have to think and read on this. Stay tuned…….

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