Thursday, March 29, 2012

A rainbow of fibre

With the arrival of Tarra, I was keen to get spinning to 'run her in'. The only problem is ..how boring is it spinning white fleece all of the time? I needed a change to go with the new apparatus. Having bags of fibre at my disposal, the obvious solution was to dye some.

The only thing is, I had put it off for too long, only having done a bare minimum number of 'speriments way back last year sometime. But there the bags of fibre sat, and Tarra silently calling..

Again, it was obvious, I had to throw my reservations aside and just jump in!

I'll always remember something a spinner said to me when I first took myself off to spinning group;
"Don't be concerned about using every last scrap of wool" she said. "A little waste is fine. Wool is a generous commodity and the animal will kindly give you more each year, so don't be afraid to have fun with it!".

With that thought in my mind, I dove into the nearest fleecy bag I could find, which happened to be full to the brim of oatmealy coloured alpaca. The briefest of fibre preparations took place before getting myself and my itching armful of (dripping) fleece to the dye pot..

Soft, soft alpaca..
..which I thought I had felted - to smithereens. Thankfully not, just slightly in sections.
Note to self, when it comes to prodding in the  pot, less is more.
I wouldn't dream of offering up methods here as it was all totally for experimental purposes. However, I will reveal that they were all dyed with food dye and a little vinegar..
.
Trying to achieve a blue-green..
...which was not to be. No matter how much blue I put in, it would not take. I think the wool will need to be added to the blue first, then  colours altered. I'm calling this shade 'Witchy Green', ha!
Once I had satisfied my curiosity with unspun fleece, I turned to the commercial yarn oddments I had lurking in the craft room..

Splotchy pink made with rose pink food dye, placed in a dish with a little water and vinegar and  'cooked' in the microwave...
Yellows to cheer the spirit! 
It was tricky to manage the 'bleeding' of the dye..less water will help this (as in inhibit this) I'm thinking..
And how could they not look cheerful hanging up to dry in the garden on a warm, sunny, Autumn day?


It was such fun to play with colour for a while, I can see this as a whole other creative outlet in itself! I'm absolutely in awe of the gorgeously dyed fabrics I see at local markets and ethical shops.

But you know what the best bit so far about dyeing your own fibre is?

{alpaca (Mashuri), food dye/vinegar}

The spinning of it!!

No matter how quirky the dyeing turned out to be, it is so exciting to see the colours form together into one long strand while you pedal away!!

Gosh, I'm almost beside myself anticipation to see how it will knit up! (That is, after I make the huge decision on how to ply it!).

24 comments:

  1. Oh, wow! I love those colours, and what a shame the teal green/ blue didn't turn out. Now you have 'The Hulk' green! I am sure you will spin it & knit dishcloths or beanies or something wonderful out of it anyways... don't suppose it's your kids school uniform colour?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ooh, The Hulk! I am liking this description very much!!

    I think I have a plan for this wretched green..and no, a shame it isn't the colour of the daughters' uniform..grr! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. ohhhh what wonderful spun wool it will all be. I can't wait to see how it knits up either.

    ReplyDelete
  4. That purple-y yarn is beautiful!

    I'm guessing you like how your new wheel is working. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love the purple! Look forward to seeing the finished garment!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's pretty exciting, Fiona!

      Yes, such a huge relief that it works, Kathryn! A little slower than the bigger one, but what it lacks in speed it makes up for in portability. ;)

      Yes, you and me both, Linda! :)

      Delete
  6. That looks like so much fun. I'd love to give it a go. How many projects can one have on the go I wonder. What sort of preparation do you need to do on the fleece before dyeing? Love the colours - well maybe 'loves' not the word for the green!

    ReplyDelete
  7. So cool! I can't wait to dye my own wool. You used really beautiful colors!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh how beautiful - I especially love the yellows and the purples. Isn't it wonderful to have a new toy to play with?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many, many projects, Kate! To prepare the fleece for the dye I soaked it in quite warm water to loosen the lanolin and any dirt, then gently immersed it in 2 more warm rinse 'baths'. Gently squeezed it and then soaked in a container of water with a splash of vinegar for as long as you can stand before letting it hit the dye pot. Hope this helps.

      It was quite the fluke, Michelle - a botch job of gigantuan proportions! But thankyou :)

      So much fun, africanaussie. The yellows are so cheery!

      Delete
  9. Wow, I LOVE those colours!! What a great way to spend a day, for sure! And here I was thinking that food dyes were just for Easter eggs......

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi CHristine, I too have just dyed some wool (op shop bags of white ... what a find!). A dear friend gave me a lesson on how to do this by laying the presoaked skien (warm water and vinegar) on a long sheet of foil, making sure that the two sides were sepaerate. We then used my smallest tea pot to slowly pour a mix of the left over water and food colours over the skein (or use a pastry brush if you have the patience!). THen using fingers (I recommend gloves.. i turned brown by days end!), we pushed and prodded the dye / wool till it was soaked in. This way we could use a variety of colours and blend them according to taste. So I am now the proud Mama of a dozen brightly coloured skeins. I've alrady started turning some of them into knitted eggs for a friends 40th next weekend. Oh what fun! Thanks for the beautiful and inspiring blog. Cheerio for now, Katja

    ReplyDelete
  11. Whoops... got carried away with the end product and forgot to finish with ... ONce the skien is coloured, wrap it up into the foil lengthways, taking care to keep the two sides clear of each other if you are trying to make a varied colour scheme. Close over the end and then roll the lot up into a snail shape. Heat this 'snail' in a steam bath (pot with a cake tray suspended in it) for 20 minutes or so, or if you can wait, leave out in the sun... I couldn't. You can really load the pot up, I had 5 snails go in at once. Soooo easy and awesome results! I have rainbow skiens, speckled oraranges / yellows, blue / greens, etc. Hung up in the kitchen so I can stare at the regularly!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, love a bit of Easter egg dyeing too, Evi! It's so great to have the colours right there in the cupboard ready to use!

      Ahh, many thanks, Katja!! Fantastic..I will be sure to give this snail method a go at some point!! Imagine the colour combinations one could come up with! :)

      Delete
  12. Christine what divine colours. Your post has got me so excited. My Dad used to import spinning wheels from NZ and gave me a small upright wheel for one of my birthdays in my early 20's (a long time ago!). I used to love the whole process of dying the wool with vegetable dyes, spinning and knitting it up. I actually have one of his small wheels sitting in a cardboard box in my loungeroom just waiting to be assembled and brought back to life. Perhaps the time has finally come to check out some local classes and get back into it again.
    Thank your for your wonderful blog. Full of inspiration. Serendipity2000

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unleash them, Serendipity! You'll be so glad you did. Thankyou for your kind words. x

      Delete
  13. Your cleverness knows no bounds, just beautiful. Sorry to miss you today, a bit buggy here.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Love, love, love, the colours - I would just hang them where I could see them. No need to knit the up to enjoy them! I dont have the patience or the right kind of brain to knit more than a plain scarf - but these posts are starting to inspire me! - Kara

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So sorry to hear your buggy, Kirsty. Hope you are all feeling better now to start the holidays. :)

      It was quite a surprise, Wendy :)

      Yes, as I am particularly stumped about just what to turn them into, hanging them up is what they're doing, Kara! If you can knit a plain scarf, you can bend your brain to other patterns too..remember they're all a variation of the old 'knit' and 'purl' stitch. ;)

      Delete
  15. What fantastic colours! When I was younger and a knitter, there was a shop in Sydney at the Rocks called the Wooloomooloo Woolstore. It was filled with gorgeous multi-toned hanks of wool like yours. Made the most beautiful creations!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Gorgeous colours Christine, absolutely gorgeous. I can't wait to see what you knit with them :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, that is quite the tongue-twister, Celia! It sounds fabulous. :)

      Hmmm, you and me both, Brydie. ;)

      Delete

Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...