Stasia's Place Of Grace


Friday, April 21, 2006

Dyeing Day Deux

Today I experimented with the "hot pour" dyeing method described in the fabulously inspirational The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook.

I used the One Shot/Country Classics dyes in the following ratios to make three stocks:
1 tsp. Buttercup (yellow) in 4 oz. water for yellow stock;
1/2 tsp. Cherry (red) in 4 oz. water for red-fuchsia stock;
1/4 tsp. cherry and 1/4 tsp. Cornflower (blue) in 4 oz. water to make purple stock. I didn't mess with secondary shades today, figuring the dyeing method would give me enough variations of each color.

The primaries I use are "printer's primaries" and are more vivid than standard primaries. Apparently, this brand of dye requires a bit more per cup of water than Lanaset/Sabraset dyes do, probably because more jar space is taken up by the "extras" that are already in the dye (you don't need to add anything). Yellow is not as strong as the other colors so I used more.

I soaked 5 oz. of Wensleydale roving in 1 and 1/4 gallon of water with 1/4 tsp. Synthropol for 30 minutes. The water was 110 degrees (warm).

I drained the fiber and lifted it carefully to a stainless steel bowl with a flat bottom, and added water of the same temperature as the fiber so as not to shock and felt it with a temperature change. I added a "glug" of vinegar in the hopes that it would make the dye strike the fiber quickly. I then heated the water to 190 degrees F.

I made a mistake at the last step by adding too much water - it should have been just to the level of about 1.5 inches, and I had it at about 3 inches, so that the roving was floating on top with water space beneath. I also failed to keep the temperature of the water above 190 as I dyed. These two things combined made my individual colors not adhere quickly enough to the fiber, and my colors all ran a bit and combined more than I would have liked.

First I added the yellow in a "stripe" down the center of my bowl of jumbled-up roving. I waited, giving the dye a chance to exhaust. (See above for the reasons it never did.) I noted the water problem as my yellow spread throughout the bowl, and removed a few cups of liquid, which helped contain the dyes in the following steps. I then added a red sripe to one side, waited, and then added the purple in a stripe on the opposite side. I kept the bowl at a very low simmer for 10 minutes.


I removed the bowl from heat and let it cool to room temperature. I should have let it cool overnight, but we needed the kitchen to prepare dinner, so as soon as the fiber was cool enough and I was able, I rinsed the roving in several changes of room-temperature water.

The dyebath never did exhaust, and I think that in addition to my too-much-water mistake and too-low-heat mistake, I did a too-much-dye-liquid mistake as well. But the concentration of the dye was better and stronger today than in yesterday's experiment, so I'm learning.

Here is the resulting roving.

The hot-pour method is supposed to result in lots of secondary color blends, and that's exactly what happened. The blue I got was quite unexpected! This wasn't what I was shooting for but I like it. This method was far less time-consuming than painting the individual roving lengths by hand, and very easy... but also far less predictable.

We are having company for dinner tomorrow, so no more dyeing for the time being. I think I'm going to cave in and order some dyes in the colors I really want, as experimenting with primary mixes is taking up too much time, and my Wensleydale roving is in short supply!

Have a wonderful weekend! Happy Earth Day!

Animal Breed Zip Code

Thursday, April 20, 2006

My Dyeing Day

Thanks to everyone who so kindly shared dyeing tips with me! I spent this afternoon experimenting with OneShot dyes from

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!

Animal Breed Zip Code

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Dyes And Philosophical Musings

Dyeing Info?

From a post I made on the Spindlers list:

I have a question for anyone familiar with OneShot/Country Classics dyes (I got mine from ProChemical.)

I want to use these to paint roving, as opposed to immersion dyeing the roving. I can't find any good instructions for the amount of painting dye to mix up based on the weight of goods to be dyed. All the instructions are for immersion dyeing - so many grams of dye per a big pot of water.

I'm confused because a) I stink at math and b) I want to use more than one color (say three), and then varying shades of those colors (so maybe nine shades total). I know that I will need to dilute the concentrations of the original colors to make the other tones... but how much should I start with for, say, 8 or 12 oz. of (dry) fiber?

I'm also confused as to the dye stock percentage to use for painting. For immersion dyeing, it's a 1% solution... is it the same for painting, or should I go stronger?

The reason for all these questions is that I don't think these dyes can be stored as stock for longer than two weeks and I therefore want to mix as little as possible, and exhaust as much as possible, to be "environmentally responsible". If you read this blog last summer, you know that we just had a new septic system installed, and I am SO not putting anything down there that might ruin it! (I just don't think that dumping dye down the drain is good for the Earth, in any application.)

I've looked in several of my books on dyeing and haven't found really good guidelines for amounts to mix up relating to the amount of fiber to be painted. Lots of painting instructions... just no weight to dye ratios. If you have any resources to share with me, I would really appreciate it! I also wrote to ProChem to ask them for any suggestions, and if I hear back, I'll post here.

If I can figure this out in time, I'd love to join the current Spindlers dyed 4 oz. ready-to-spin fiber exchange. All this spinning of dyed Wensleydale has me wanting to dye my own. Sigh. Yet another distraction, as my spindles litter the living room. I even have the Lendrum upright raring to go (I forget - does it need to be oiled? Anyone? Bueller?)

What's to become of my unfinished knitted baby sweaters? And I have yet to start my seedlings... sometimes I really wish I had only one hobby. Just when I re-learn how to do one (like weaving once or twice annually!) I have to go read up on another. I really should just focus on one thing - but where's the fun in that?

Special Appeal

The href="" target="_blank">Northwoods Wildlife Center of Minocqua, Wisconsin has issued a special appeal for support. They are hosting a "surreality" contest where in you can "vote" for (sponsor) the "winner" (your favorite). Click the pic to enlarge it so that you can read their poem - it's cute. Then give freely if you are so inclined. They do fantastic work.

This t-shirt cracked me up:

It reads, "It's all fun and games until someone laughs their butt off." Love it!

Philosophical Musings

Today I am thinking that...

Those who cannot state their opinions in a way that doesn't insult another are not very confident of their opinions. I think they must not have very much faith in the validity of their beliefs.

Those who don't get the facts before asserting themselves don't want the facts - they just have a need to be heard.

Those who create dissention and unrest do so because of an unfulfilled need for personal power or because of low self-esteem.

Those who want to express themselves at all costs, and are unwilling to listen to, or be respectful of, the opinions of another - and those who find the need to misrepresent the views of another to make their own positions appear stronger - do so because they like to argue for the sake of arguing, not because they care about betterment of their lives or those of others.

Those who criticize creations do so because of a fear that they can't create themselves.

There are those who would rather be against something - anything - negatively than be for something else in a positive manner.

Those who vociferate ferociously about their rights often don't care much about the rights of others. Sometimes they care more about the right itself than actually exercising the right, and they'd rather argue about the right than do anything constructive with it. There also is often a difference between one's rights and what may be the right thing to do in a particular situation.

Intelligent people can discuss ideas and agree to disagree without making personal attacks. Intelligent people strive first to understand another's views, then feel free to express their own, seeking common ground.

Those who do not seek common ground seek to... what? Why wouldn't one want to seek common ground? To that, I have no answer. I want to work on peace within myself, my family, my friends, the world. Those who desire conflict for the sake of conflict generate their own karma, as do we all.

My life is too short to be sucked dry by negativity. Because of my limitations, I value the positive in life so much more. I have learned that I control how negativity affects me - I can choose to walk away from it. For that life lesson, I am truly grateful. It has made all the difference.

Have a positive day!

Animal Breed Zip Code

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Stasia is a knitter, spinner, weaver, writer, reader, and musician from Wisconsin, USA.

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