Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Off to a Good Start this Year

Thought I'd post a couple of photos of recent knitting projects. Among the Christmas gifts this year were felted clogs for Dear Granddaughter, whose shoe size is quickly approaching my own, an earflap hat made with handspun yarn (granddog/wool) for Son-in-law, and socks for DS's Girlfriend. The other photo is (background) Lotus Blossom shawl (pattern from Fiddlesticks) recently completed, another earflap hat (this one for DD), and hand-dyed socks in progress.

Just a few words about the socks in progress. I'm using superwash wool yarn from Henry's Attic (pretty sure). It was natural, undyed color, and since I seem to need brown socks this year & couldn't find anything really exciting (can brown be exciting?), I decided to dye this yarn. I used some reds, blues, & turquoise in addition to the brown dye, and dyed this yarn in a crockpot. The color placement in this yarn was completely random. There will be no self-striping here, just random highlights.


I use Jacquard Acid Dyes. Works great on wool (mohair, silk, feathers). The dye comes in powdered form. The powder is mixed with water. (Wear a mask while mixing dyestock - you don't want to inhale this.) I use 500 ml bottles of drinking water from the store, and add a teaspoon (5 ml) of dye powder for a 1% solution, or two teaspoons (10 ml) for a 2% solution of dyestock. You can take off the mask once the solution is made.

The yarn/wool roving/locks/feathers/silk needs to pre-soak in a vinegar/water solution for awhile before dyeing. Amounts & times are not specific, but I usually figure 1/4 - 1/2 c. vinegar/gallon of water, and at least an hour to soak. (Silk does best if pre-washed with synthrapol & soaked for a long time, like overnight. The dye will penetrate the fiber more easily.)

After soaking, remove fiber, add some dye (if you want reproducible results, you need to measure amount of dye per amount of fiber), stir, and add the fiber back into the pot. I use either an enamel canner or crockpot, both of which I've purchased from Goodwill. They are both used only for dyeing. Heat until steaming. The fiber doesn't need to boil. The fiber needs to reach about 180 degrees & stay there for minimum 20 minutes. Do not agitate. When I added the random highlights, I just poured small glugs of dye randomly onto the yarn.

Cool gradually. Do not try to reduce the temperature quickly, and do not agitate or you're likely to end up with felt.


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