..of messing around with a lot of colour:)
as I said I was going to do a demo on dyeing with acid dyes for our textile crafters group. we went in early yesterday and set everything up, but as usual I overestimated what I can do in a few hours - and brought far too much stuff. well, I guess it's better than running out of material after an hour or two...the meeting is only from 10.30 to about 3, but it looked as if I was going to move out:)
anyway, I had prepared acid dyes in 1 % stock solution, but also brought some gaywool dyes and some gooddall's food colours (which I didn't use after all). I had also pre-soaked most of my yarns in water/vinegar solution, so that I could start dyeing straight away. only when I packed my stuff for the day, I realized that I had mostly reds of the gaywool dyes, so I asked a member of our group to bring a few more for me... (can't have too many colours?:).
I started with two-tone balls - a very easy thing to do, altough it's always a wobble between having tidy balls and little colour inside - or wobbly balls and better colouring. I think I managed alright this time (which is a good thing, because I brought everything - but my niddynoddy and ballwinder:().
I didn't exactly match the half and half spread, because I didn't use the flat roasting tin I normally use for this way of dyeing. the height of the pot made it difficult to estimate the amount of dye needed to only dye half of the ball (or a bit less). so I ended up with a lot more reds/pinks than green, but that turned out to be good after all. when I wound the damp balls off into skeins, I saw that there are lighter spots, but no area was left undyed (the base yarn was light grey). I then used the same green (peppermint from gaywool; the red is garnet) to inject into an injection-dyed ball of white yarn. plus some of the red - when something happened that never happened before to me: the needle of the syringe flew off and didn't only leave me with spots on the t-shirt, but also on some of the people close by! luckily it was the green and not the red - it washed out of my t-shirt fine later. because I didn't want to risk any more accidents I put the ball into the leftover garnet dyebath - and ended up with the much lighter skein at the bottom.
I had also prepared some previously dyed skeins, of which I didn't like the colours so much. this was dyed with leftover brazilwood (to make a light pink for the "ouch" granny's face...), the real colour is slightly more peachy, but too dark for a white-haired granny, so I tied areas off with binliner stripes and put the skein into the same garnet dye bath. not sure that I like it much - but I guess I can use it in a pair of socks with some other colour.... or maybe I should add a bit of the peppermint green from above to the lighter areas? not sure yet...
I wound a very long skein (2.40 m) of sock wool with silk to dye larger areas - nice for blocks of colour in socks etc. I used three 500 g yogurt pots and filled them with three colours, red, blue and violet. each pot was stuffed with 1/3 of the skein and then left until the colour spread to cover all areas (helped along with a bit of "spooning" by me:). I can't say that I adore the colours, but maybe I can make something like "stained glass window" socks, together with some anthrazit or black wool? a bit of yellow and a bit of green with it and bingo - I'd have a parrot:)
after lunch I dyed some top, merino this time. I just added yellow and red in stripes on presoaked merino, that I had laid out on cling film. I massaged it a bit to mix the colours at the edges. I'd say it will spin into a marled yellow-orange-red yarn - which I call Phoenix for now.
I had planned to work with sock blanks for some time, so I knitted two (only had time to dye one, though). I measured how much yarn I'll need for one row of a sock and knitted a strip (with doubled up yarn, to make 2 indentical socks) of that width. I used two sunsets for inspiration - not quite so easy, because I had to try to soak the knitting through into the stitches, but not add too much dye so that it doesn't run into other areas and thought that it worked out ok. I wanted to knit another pair of picture socks, with the sky colours as background and the silhouette of the tree in black for the sock leg. I'd say the rest of the foot will be all black, without pattern.
unfortunately when I unravelled the knitting this morning, I saw that the dye didn't quite penetrate the knitted stitches everywhere (= knitting more loosely next time?). I thought at first that I might go over some light patches by skeining the yarn and spreading it out to paint over. but I think it would be better to knit up the socks first and overpaint, where it's needed, once I can see where exactly the colours lack depth. I can put my plastic dummies inside for this and stuff clingfilm inside for steam-fixing.
my personal favourite of the dye results is this: teeswater top, which I braided loosely, laid out in a spiral and dyed by dabbing colours on first; green and blue. I then added violet and red into the blue areas with a pipette. the yarn is a good bit darker in real life - and I call it moody jungle (would be very fitting for my garden, too:). I can't wait to spin this - finely and probably chainplied, maybe for sock yarn? I am tempted to dye more, but I mixed several colours for the green and I am not sure that I can match this again... that's the downside of playing with colour and not noting the ratios!
I still have to either dye a good lot of presoaked fibres and yarns or dry the lot for some other time! but I will definitely dye two more grey balls and one white that I have prepared. the idea came to me yesterday that maybe I could dye the red/green yarns from the "two-tone" session to knit my own version of Argenteuil, a pattern that came out in "the knitter" recently. I will add more and darker green to the next two grey balls, plus some garnet. and the white ball will have very little green, a bit more of lighter garnet and an overall "rosy" tone. the pattern starts with the darkest colour mix, changes between this colour and the next lighter one by working 2 rows each for a while and so on. at least that's the idea - I just have to match the colours to that - and get the pattern back, which was borrowed by another member of the group:)
I do like dyeing, but yesterday evening I was quite glad, when everything was done and packed up again. and I will enjoy our next meeting at the end of september, when I will follow somebody elses demo! but before that we'll do a trip up north to Donegal, to the woollen mill, where the famous donegal tweed yarn is produced. I already started a project list to indulge in some of their yarns when we're up there! I hope there's enough space on the bus for a dozen yarn fans and their shopping bags:)