Monday, July 23, 2007

Dyeing Weekend

My swift arrived on Friday! I knew it wouldn't come with instructions, so I had spent some time surfing the web to figure out how to use it before it got there. It was really easy to set up, and is just as nice as all the reviews said it was on I couldn't put my tangled mess on it of course (I still have one to de-tangle and tame...the other is headed for the trash I think), but I was able to make hanks for my next round of dyeing. It went faster than doing it on the back of my desk chair, and it was more consistent, so I am hoping that when it is all said and done, I will be able to put these back on here to wind into balls. I worked on these on and off Saturday afternoon/evening. I am going to have to wait for a thread sale at Hobby Lobby before being able to do more. I still have 2 white balls I can hank, so may do that just so they are ready, and while everything is set up still.

I made 5 hanks, 3 white, 2 ecru. I soaked them in soda ash overnight and part of the day (about 18 hours total), then I gently squeezed out the excess soda ash water and carefully hung each one up by the window to air/drip dry while I dyed. Of course, the slight breeze didn't care that I had been careful and blew one hanger down. So, I carefully rehung the thread, after mumbling under my breath for a minute (or two), and made sure the hanger was secure and could not be blown off again. The cat didn't care either apparently, or her curiosity just got the best of her, and I just about killed her when she messed with it and it got caught on the hanger and got pulled and...*sigh*. We've made up now, but she was shooed away the rest of the afternoon.

I laid out my saran wrap, and my first hank. I put on my gloves, mixed my dyes and I was off! I had some help, thank goodness, or else I would have been dyeing for much longer than the 3.5 hours it took. I was bound and determined (hopefully it will pay off) to make sure the colors were even, that the spots that didn't quite get as much color last time (around the folds of the hanks and around ties), weren't missed, and that I didn't use too much dye. We had a pretty good process going by the end, we shall see if it worked.

With each one I did, I added water to the dye. Two reasons, I wanted to make sure I had enough to do all 5 hanks, and I wanted to see the color variation that would result. I'm not sure how much the color will vary, but they certainly lasted. I probably could have done another 5 or 6. The colors were still very vibrant even after being watered down several times.

I was a little "done" and was probably a little less careful with the last one, maybe too much dye (had to blot before wrapping), so might have more bleeding than I want. Did some experimenting with color mixing for the last one, and I can't wait to see how it turns out! Next batch, I may do more color mixing, because that was fun! I wish I got pictures of all of them before they were wrapped, but I did get a few. By the time I remembered the camera, it wasn't worth it to unwrap it just to take a picture.

Then they were all wrapped, looking like colorful cinnimon rolls in a little tub on my kitchen counter, waiting for 48 hours to let the color set. I felt with my first experiment, the one that sat for 48 hours turned out the best, so I am went with that for all of them this time.

After they sat for 48 hours, I rinsed them in hot water until it looked like the water ran clear. Then I put a little bit of Dawn in a tub and let them soak in there while I rinsed each one. By the time I was done with that, I pulled the first one out of the soapy water, and rinsed it again, getting out the soapy water. There was some color that came out while they were soaking, but not too much. After rinsing in cold water this time, I put them back in a tub of cold water, no Dawn, and let them each sit for a few hours. Actually, I went out with a friend, and had run out of time, so that is what I decided to do. When I got home, I rinsed them all once again in cold water, then put them in the spin cycle in the washer to get most of the water out, then hung them up to finish drying.

Now, I'll just have to see if they go back on the swift to be wound into nice little thread cakes. I don't think they tangled very much, if at all. That will be another post!