Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Learning Curve

Learning Curve

I think that every time I try something new there is a learning curve. I have confessed in the past that I am big about reading directions but today was a different matter. I have been trying to dye roving and yarns these last few weeks. To help myself learn I have purchased two books. The first one is The Yarn Lover's Guide to Hand Dyeing by Linda La Belle and Teach Yourself Hand-Dyeing Visually by Barbara Parry. I have been extremely pleased with both books. What one doesn't have (which isn't much) the other has. They have been very helpful and talk about dyeing with different methods, equipment, mediums and anything else you can think of. Both books were money well spent.

I have been investing in equipment so I decided to invest in some different dyes besides using Kool Aid. I ordered some Jacquard dyes and have been playing with them every chance I get. My first experience with dyeing was using Kool Aid and I wanted to step it up. And step it up I did.

My first try was roving. I tried two different methods. The first was using my crock pot. This method was totally random. I presoaked my roving in vinegar and water for 30 minutes. I t was wrung it out about half way and then put it in the crock pot. The instructions said to put about an inch of water in the crock pot and a wee bit of vinegar. The vinegar helps the roving to be more accepting of the dyes. I did use Kool Aid for this roving. I used two packets of orange, two packets of red and one of the grape. To make a long story short, I sprinkled the packets as per the directions and when the water was clear (after sitting for 2 hours) I got this result.

This is what the roving looks like in the crock pot. As you can see there are loads of colors everywhere. This can not be duplicated so I hope there is enough to make something good out of it someday! I was very pleased with the way it turned out. I rinsed it, washed it in Wool Wash and laid it out to dry for two days. The one upside to having horribly hot weather was that the roving dried much faster than I thought it would.

Here is the roving spread out on the drying rack getting dried. There are lots of color variations. I hope they will translate into some great looking yarn later down the road.

I was feeling so good about what I was doing that I tried another method. I used an old crab pot for the dyeing part. Anything that any dye has touched is now strictly for dyeing purposes. It's recommended in both books that you get separate equipment. So I have been using some old things to get myself started. I am going to need some measuring cups but am sure that the dollar store will be good for that.

So here is effort number two with the total immersion method. I did use some of the Jacquard dyes for this roving. I can't tell you which ones I used but boy did I love the results.

See the lovely red/maroon color. That was the second attempt at dyeing. I am so excited about how this turned out. I do love that color. Both rovings were dried and then rolled into balls and have been added to my roving stash.

So feeling very smug about how well I thought the two above attempts went I went full guns this time. I actually dyed sock yarn to see how that would go. I can see there is a problem for me. The skeins need to be tied up more so that they aren't a tangled mess when they dry. You will see what I mean here shortly!
These are two of my latest adventures into dyeing. They were both done in the crock pot. As you can see the blue one fared much better in the tangle department. I have no idea what I did to cause the purple one to look so horrible but I am going to buy some cotton shoe laces like one of the books recommend. The purple one will be a total nightmare trying to find the end and put on the swift for winding.

Here are some closer looks at the two above.

So the learning curve continues. I am so excited about all of this. If you have never dyed anything, try it. It's like a package that is waiting to be opened.


Sharon said...

Wow Vickie. You are really jumping onto the bank wagon with both feet. Good for you! The only way to learn is to do it. I'm so pleased for you and for your results. When you dye yarns, you do need to do a figure eight tie at four points. Think about plying your different singles together~

erinkristi said...

1) beautiful!
2) since when did we become psychically linked? I just dyed with red, orange, and violet (iDye and Spectrum gel food coloring) yesterday, and I haven't read your blog in over a week...although I did become suspicious when I saw you had joined a hand coloring forum 30 minutes before I did...and one of my skeins kinda fell apart a little, too!
3) When shall we have a Dye party?

vlb5757 said...

Sharon-I will do a much better job tying my stuff next time. I did tie up the blue after I saw the first skein. It's going to take me hours to unravel that one skein. That will be on a rainy day when I am trapped at home!
Erin-Thanks! I just think there was something in the air darlin'. We will have to plan a dye party some time-for beginners like us! Oh what a mess that would be but fun.

Farm Chick Paula said...

WOW! That is wonderful! I'm learning new stuff every time you post!