Friday, January 18, 2008

A Study in Color

So I promised a crafting post a dammit I keep my promises (well most of the time I have broken promises in the past but I assure you they were probably broken for a good reason and not because I can be a lazy cow!)

I dyed up some roving for the etsy two weeks ago but I just got around to taking pics. These are interesting because they are both from the same dye bath, dyed at the same time but the color results are very very different due to the nature of the wools in question.

Roving number 1 is a superwash merino. Superwash is well known for its dye sucking abilities, most people recommend letting your protein fiber soak in a bit of acid before dyeing so it takes the color better but I don't recommend doing this with superwash. There is something that happens to the wool during the process that makes it superwash that causes it to suck up dye like an alcoholic at happy hour. I soak my superwash in water only before the dye bath to avoid splotchy dye spots and uneven tones. This particular roving started out a hideous shade of yellow and was begging for some color to make it a bit less puke worthy. Here's the final result
I'm going to call it "Swamp Thing"

The second roving is 2oz of cormo that appears to have been pin drafted. I know a lot of people have issues with cormo, but it is super lovely to work with and so springy and smooshy, I would sleep though the night in a bed made of cormo. Cormo's trick is to not over process it, its elasticity makes it difficult to card but if you tease the locks open and comb it looks/feels wonderful. If you want to card cormo I reccomend teasing open the locks and spritzing them with a bit of water and fabric softener to beat them into submission and prevent the static from making you crazy. Here's the roving I'm calling it "Think Pink"

Now I know you're probably thinking, these two rovings could NEVER have come from the same dye bath. Well you're wrong, let me explain what happened here. First the dye bath was made from black Wiltons food dye. The black food dye breaks very easily because of all the colors used to make it appear black. I like using the black food dye exactly for this purpose, it gives a tie-dye effect to the finished product. Second, one must remember that superwash absorbs dye much better then cormo so the superwash roving took most of the color. Thirdly red and pink must reach a higher temperature before they will penetrate a fiber so as a result all the pinks were left in the dye bath for the cormo to absorb. And thus we have two very different colorways created from the same dye pot.

Onto spinning
"Snow Day"
130 yards Merino/Angora/ Angelina 55/40/5
Spun from batts I carded using the long draw method. I fulled the final yarn to create a fuzzy, soft, and strong yarn. I find that angora tends to want to break when I knit with it and fulling helps it hold its structure.

I also have an FO to share but I'll save that for next week!


Jacki said...

Swamp Thing is gorgeous!

twinsetellen said...

Fascinating post. Thanks for the lesson in dye baths. I think I believe you that the two were from the same bath. ;-)

Necia said...

All I can say is wow. Both look great, and of course very different. I'm simply stunned those are from the same dye bath, but I know you speak the truth. Wow. Nice spinning too!