Monday, June 6, 2011

Dyeing Day

Yesterday started out with a sad day at church, since one of our well loved members passed away suddenly the day before. 

When we got home, Bob and I did a little garden prep and put in a few tomato plants, and some giant zinnias.  Bob worked on getting a fence up around the area to try and keep the munchy critters out. 

After we finished all of that, I got to start on a dyeing project. 
I bought some ugly yellow wool yarn at an estate sale and thought I would try to turn it into a brown.  I wound off almost a pound into four skeins, and soaked it, to prepare for the dye bath.  I figured I could start with purple, since it is opposite on the color wheel from yellow, and would get some sort of brown. 

My first attempt ended up being a little toward the purple-plum side, so I asked a friend if I should try adding a bit more yellow to the mix and dye it again.  Back to the dyepot with the yellow added.

Thank goodness Bob was around to pull those hot, heavy skeins out of the dye bath.  As the steaming picture shows, I did get a brown after adding lemon yellow.  My conclusion to this dye experiment is to use a lot less dye.  The directions I found said to use between 1-5 teaspoons of dye powder (fiber reactive Procion MX).  I used about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the purple, and added 1/2 teaspoon of yellow.  That was directions for dyeing a pound.  My yarn weighed slightly under a pound (14.4 oz.).  Under a teaspoon would have been plenty.
They are out on the golf cart, drying in the nice breeze right now.  I can probably get out in the studio quite soon and start winding warp.   The plan is for this wool to become fabric to make some Teddy bears.  I'm thinking of using some treadling variations of traditional bird's eye and John Murphy's bird's eye, from Marguerite Davison's book, pages 13 and 14.  I will do a five yard warp, sett 16 epi, 24" in the reed.  I only need a little over 1/2 yard per bear, so I will have fun playing with the variations. 
The two small skeins on the right are a different color brown, and are a different yarn.  There was still dye in the pot after finishing the first four skeins, so I took some dirty yarn, washed it, and dyed a bit of it with the remainder in the pot.  That will be added to my "someday this will become a wool rug" stash.

I ended my evening with a walk with Bob, marveling at the beauty of new growth on the blue spruce, looking for yellow lady's slippers, and then chasing around a swallow-tail butterfly feasting on our lilacs.
It was a wonderful day!

1 comment:

  1. Dying fiber, especially yarn, is one of my most favorite things to do. I think what I like most about it, is the "unknown and unexpected" factor. Having a goal for what color you want when you dye is sometimes a must, but I do like the unpredictable colors, too. Happy to see that you got the brown shades you were hoping to end up with. :)