Thursday, August 23, 2012

A post from the Past: August 9, 2008

I am transferring my blog post from Live Journal over here to Blogger. I will start with the newest first so that the last post I post will be the oldest one from LJ.  That way you can scroll down and read it in order. 2008 to 2009.

August 9, 2008

This is my first project in dyeing wool for knitting. I will show you step by step what I did. It was really fun and I love how the wool turned out with soft rich colors. I used natural dyes & one acid dye. I do like the shades of the natural dye better.
Ok, lets get started.
Three days before "dye day" I put my wool:Superwash fingering(sock) 75%merino wool 25% nylon, in the kitchen sink to wet it. I left it there while I got things ready.

While it was soaking I mixed up my Mordant. I mixed alum with water and a touch of cream of tartar. The mordant will let the fibers accept the dye. So the 4 skeins soaked in this pan of mordant for 3 days.

I did go shopping at thrift stores to get my containers & pans for dyeing since they will only be used for dyeing. Never for food. I like the white enamel because I can see the colors of the dye.

I chose to only mix up 3 colors that were all lovely together. I felt if I mixed up too many colors I would want to use them and end up with a muddy color of wool. I chose a deep red that I got from Cochenille. This is an insect that lives on the Nopales cactus. He is harvested and sold for dye. I have here the powdered cochenille. Then I chose Logwood for my deep violet. Logwood is from a tree and the dye comes from the leaves and bark. Lastly I used an acid dye for my green. I mixed 2 shades of green together.

Then after I heated the dye on the stove in my pans I put the dye in the larger containers and added warm water.

Then the dyeing begins. As you saw in the other photo I have on my lab coat and latex gloves. Here I am adding the skein of wool but just half of it.

I then let this rest before putting back in because I wanted to have part of this skein darker than the rest.

I let part of the skein lay in the dye bath to darken.

When I got the color I liked I put the skein in a warm bath of water with vinegar. I left it there for over an hour.

I did 2 skeins with 2 shades, here is the magenta/red cochenille with green. Looks like Mexicos colors! In the background you can see my logwood skein getting some cochenille on one end.

The second multi-colored skein is this logwood & cochenille.

Here is my skein with Logwood laying in a fresh vinegar & water bath.

Here are my 2 solid skeins draining off the dye.

After all the dyeing and the vinegar baths, I rinsed the wool and gave it a cool bath in some wool wash (soap). Then we all went outside to dry.

Well that is the photo journal of my first dyeing project. It was fun. It was satisfying, it was challenging and it brought out the artist in me. I plan to be dyeing again real soon. I really loved it.

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