Thanks to everyone who so kindly shared dyeing tips with me! I spent this afternoon experimenting with OneShot dyes from ProChemical.com.
I never actually did find out how much total dye liquid was required per pound of fiber to be painted. It's easy with immersion dyeing, because the dye bonds to the fiber in the bath, and then you pour off exhausted, clear water. But with the painting method, you don't know how much "wastage" there will be. I wanted to minimize the dye that would remain for disposal, due to environmental concerns. I took notes so that next time, I won't mix up more than I'll need.
I started with primary colors: red, yellow, and blue. I also got a container of black, to darken shades. Theoretically, that should be all anyone would need... but perhaps dyes don't work the same as oil paints! They're much more like watercolors. I had some difficulty getting the secondary shades of orange, green, and purple, because yellow isn't as strong as red or blue.
But I winged it, and eventually got the colors approximately where I wanted them. I then divided the three shades into nine, dulling three with some black, and lightening three with extra water.
So without further ado, this is what took place.
Here we have about 8 oz. of Brown Sheep plain ol' roving soaking in 1 and 1/4 gallons of 110-degree (warm) water, with 1/4 tsp. of Synthropol, for 30 minutes. I've separated the roving into 1 oz. lengths, and loosely coiled them so they don't fall apart in the water.
I like the Brown Sheep roving because it's very inexpensive, it's easy for beginners to spin with, it's soft, and it holds up well under rough treatment.
The Synthropol is a detergent that pre-scours the roving (removing any carding oils) and prepares it for dyeing. You can also use dish liquid but the proportions are different, and you don't want to make suds. You're on your own there.
Here are my supplies: OneShot dyes in Cornflower, Cherry, Buttercup, and Raven; old towels; rubber gloves; a painting drop sheet; little paint cups with ounces and liters marked on them; foam painting brushes; Saran wrap, fiber scale.
Not pictured: dust mask, candy thermometer, plastic spoons, towels on floor for drips.
All equipment is dedicted to dyeing use only!
Extra precautions taken: dogs fed and watered, walked, and put away; fishtank covered. Hair put up (I had an incident with a cordless Dremel tool last week which left me extra paranoid of my long hair getting into anything.)
Here I have mixed my dyes. The center row is the "base" mix. I started with 1/4 tsp. each of two colors mixed together (1/2 tsp. total), and added 2 c. hot water: 1/4 tsp. of yellow with 1/4 tsp. of red to make orange, 1/4 tsp. of yellow with 1/4 tsp. of blue to make green, 1/4 tsp. of red with 1/4 tsp. of blue to make purple. I then made a plain black solution of 1/4 tsp. dye to 1 c. hot water.
The purple came out fine. The orange and green needed more yellow, so I added 1/4 tsp. more each, and a little more after that. The yellow took a long time to combine with the other colors - when I tested orange and green on the paper towel, some yellow had still not mixed in all the way. So I waited a bit longer.
So each of those center cups held 16 oz. of dye stock. I took each one and poured off 4 oz. of dye and added water to make 12 oz. for a light solution (top row). Then I took the original (center row) dyes again, and poured off another 4 oz. of eac, and then added 1/3 of 8 oz. of black to each of those to make a dark shade of each color. (At least, I'm pretty sure that's what I did - I began to lose track of ounces about this time.)
I'm going to tell you right now that I ended up with much lighter colors - the black mixes included - than I'd have liked. Next time I would use more dye (probably 1 tsp. per cup of water) and I would make the shades darker when mixing... when the paper towel shows you what the solution will look like, believe it and don't assume it is showing a bit lighter. Wet fiber (just-painted) always appears darker, and the dye looks darker in a cup.
Here I have painted the roving in strips ranging from light to medium to dark of each shade. The roving is laid out on a piece of Saran wrap (hint: make your rovings no longer than the length of the surface on which you'll be painting them!) I didn't use a ruler to measure the repeats - I just made them two foam paintbrushes wide so they'd be consistent. In a dyeing book I read recently (I believe it was Deb Menz' "Color In Spinning"), the author states that she usually uses between 12 and 24 colors when dyeing, to make a very interesting yarn with a lot of depth. She paints the roving in short repeats like this, never longer than three inches, so that the colors can be mixed well when being spun to make an exciting, vibrant yarn.
Here I have wrapped the Saran wrap lengthwise to encase the fiber, making a good lengthwise seal. I then rolled up the Saran wrap to make a HoHo out of my fiber.
Into the steam pot goes the roving. The fiber is placed on top of a rack, above the water surface, and left to steam at a low simmer for 30 minutes.
The fiber is allowed to cool to room temperature before being unrolled.
While the fiber was cooling, I cleaned up the dyes. I had used a total of approximately 24 oz. of water, times three colors for a total of 72 oz., and I ended up with 9 oz. of dye, times three colors for a total of 27 oz., left over after painting slightly more than 8 oz./230 grams of fiber. As I said, next time more dye powder, and less water.
I was distracted by this visitor to my garden. No, this is not a normal sight around here, though I've heard him calling for a couple of weeks now.
The rovings weren't cooling fast enough for me, as dinner time was approaching, so I uncurled the Saran wrap to make them cool more quickly.
Once they had cooled to room temperature, I rinsed the dyed rovings in several changes of room-temperature water, being careful not to agitate them so that they would neither felt nor fall apart in the water.
I then spun the rovings somewhat dry in my dyeing-dedicated salad spinner.
About this time, we had another visitor. A later inspection tells me she is making a nest in our chives. I expect to see some babies in a few days. The dogs will, of course, be walked on the other side of the house from now on!
Remember what I said about trusting the paper towel? If I had paid attention to it, I would have known I was going to end up with PAAS colors!
Here is the finished roving drying on the line.
I am looking forward to trying the blended color vs. preserved color spinning techniques I posted about here.
This took a lot longer than I thought it would. Those people who sell painted rovings deserve every dang penny they get, especially if they don't just do three shades of a single color. I may try some hot-pour method dyeing tomorrow. Then again, I may be in bed all day tomorrow. In any case, I hope your tomorrow is a good one!
Stasia Permalink | Archives