Behold the dyeing fiesta!

There have been a few things I’ve been doing the past couple of days that have taken up all of my mental energy. The first is worrying about Toby, who seems to have some sort of bad thing going on with her right now. I won’t get into the details (because it’s gross, poor Toby), but we don’t know if she has picked up worms or a virus or what. So we’re taking her into the vet (New Vet, so we’ll see how well that goes) this afternoon.

The second, much more fun thing, is that I’ve been working on getting a buttload of fiber and yarn dyed. Travis has been helping, too, in dyeing some more of the sock yarn. And I hate to tell him, but that was the last skein of the leftover Kraemer yarn that I have – looks like I’ll have to order some other stuff just so he can have his own yarn stash. Of course, I’ve got plenty of fiber around the house for his dyeing needs as well, which is even better, because then he can spin with it.

I started with this pile:

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And wound up adding more stuff to it as the days went on.

The first major dyeing went on in the maiden voyage of the keggle. We threw in some of the Sheep Shed roving, some of those funky silk noil things I had gotten (yeah, not too sure about those), some sparkle fiber, and 4 skeins of the Kraemer yarn that I had dyed before the dye class, but now wanted to overdye, because they were all ugly. Wound up adding turquoise, green, yellow, and purple into the keggle.

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Also that day, Travis dyed a skein of the Kraemer yarn, and – god, it’s all a blur to me now! – we also dyed some mohair, and more sparkle and the silk noils. A note about the silk noils – they look exactly like what you would expect to find in a 30 year old stuffed animal if you gutted it. Pretty damn weird.

Here’s the end results of day one:

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Oh, I forgot to mention the silk hankie. Yeah, I dyed a silk hankie, too. Started spinning it last night, and I have to say, it is the worst spinning experience I’ve had to date. Drafting it is a nightmare. However, the yarn, although really slubby, looks pretty neat, and I know exactly what I want to do with it, so the resulting yarn should be awesome. It’s the spinning part that blows.

Close up of some of the kettle dyed sparkle fiber, because I thought it rocked:

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Yesterday, I dyed the ugly grey-brown merino roving that came with the Louet wheel. That was pretty much a nightmare to dye, since the water never came anywhere close to clearing, but I think the end result is really neat. No pictures of that yet, nor of the next few things because my light here today sucks (we got rain, so that’s good, at least). Also dyed up about 5 ounces of soy silk and a bit more of the mohair.

Travis and I had used the keggle to scour the cotton and rayon yarns and also some ramie fiber that I had. It’s been a while since I’ve dyed cotton. I started out dyeing cotton fabric, and after I switched to the protein dyes I realized how much of a pain in the butt it was to dye cotton. But this time, the dyeing adventure went better, I think in part due to the scouring process – we scoured the cotton at around 200 degrees or so (right below a boil) and I think we got off a lot of the surface funk.

I was afraid that my cotton dyes, since they’re kind of old at this point, wouldn’t dye as well. I had one color that seemed to go kind of weird, but everything else worked just fine. I dyed up the ramie fiber, some plain cotton yarn to be used as a warp, a cotton/rayon blend, and some rayon chenille yarn. I let everything sit overnight, which I think was another good thing to do.

Rinsing and washing the cotton yarn is a bitch:

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But went better than I had hoped, honestly. I’m still going to get some excess dye come off the next time I wash it, but that’s not a big deal, and it’ll be a pretty small amount, I think.

Here’s the ramie. It’s kind of a mess now, but I hope I’ll be able to straighten it out once it dries.

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And the yarn:

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I’ve got plans for some of that yarn, you know. Some weaving plans. Big things are afoot!

Oh, and because I didn’t get a chance to write Katie back before now, here’s the scoop! The sock blockers are made by the wonderful Becky Freeland. Her sockblockers are awesome, and I highly recommend them. You can check out her store here. And in regards to the loom, you can weave with pretty much as fine or as fat yarns as you would like. The loom came with a heddle that you can get thick fingering weight yarns through, but then additional heddles are available to purchase (I think they’re around $30 each? Maybe?) so you can use different sized yarn. I bought the next size down, which lets me use yarns that are around sportweight as the weft. There’s one more size down from that, which I think I could get really fat yarns through. And then there’s a thing that will let you use 2 heddles at once (which is crazy talk, I know!) so you can weave with really, really fine yarns and get a very thin fabric. I’ve got some tussah laceweight silk which is about 5000 yards per pound that I think I’d like to weave into fabric. Why? Heck if I know. Sounds like fun.

Anyway, more pictures later, hopefully, as stuff dries. Everyone think good Toby thoughts.

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3 thoughts on “Behold the dyeing fiesta!”

  1. Can I come spend a vacation at your house? It looks like fun there! Gorgeous yarns! And, btw, if you’ve carefully tied up your cotton yarn (which I assume that you have) fill your washing machine on the lowest setting. Put the yarn in (leave the lid up, don’t let it agitate) soak it in laundry soap for half an hour, then turn your water off at the supplies and let your washing machine spin out. Repeat. The spinning gets out tons more dye and it’s so much easier than having to hand wash. I even rinse all my wool yarns this way. I usually fill the machine, turn off the supplies and put an empty soda bottle in my softener slot so I can’t close the lid. A top loading washer has saved me so much rinsing time. It’s actually cut my water bill down, too from when I was handwashing.

    Nick about flipped out when I mentioned getting a loom. I don’t care. I’m still asking for one for my birthday and Christmas. Between you and Syne of WeaveCast, I need a loom.

    Poor Toby. Healing thoughts coming Toby’s way! I hope you find out what’s the matter and that it’s an easy fix!

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  2. I want to spend the weekend at your house too! I want to be a yarn flunky and help with yarn and dyeing and all that cool stuff.

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