Purple llama

For the spinner’s challenge this year, I need to make a purple, firmly spun, llama doily with beads. L helped with the first step last October by acquiring some lovely llama at a local fiber event which I was unable to attend. She brought back 6 oz of hand carded white llama roving. In early November, M and I played with her Gaywool dyes. I also threw in one random skein in a very light purple. The color looks interesting close up, but it isn’t that exciting as you move away.

Wendy yarn before overdyeingI believe we used Cyclamen, Myrtle, Azalea, Raspberry and Myrtle, in probably not even proportions. I can’t read what might be my notes.

purple dyepot

While still wet, in basement lighting.

freshly dyed, still wet llama

After dry, not in basement light. This looks much more compacted. I think I must have re-rinsed at home and spun out gently in our front loading washer.

llama roving dyed purple

The Wendy wool after overdyeing. I still have no idea what I will do with one random skein of this.

Wendy yarn after overdyeing

Around Christmas, again with M’s help, we carded the dyed roving to make the color more uniform.

llama recarded

I finally spun some in April. I needed to spin it firmly for the challenge, which meant the yarn is firmer than I would prefer. I didn’t want to spin too much. I also didn’t want to make a very big doily (since a llama doily is not terribly useful). However, after figuring out the pattern I am going to use, I didn’t spin enough. I had best spin a bit more soon.

llama spun


Dolly, the excessively pink Texel

Last May, our spinner’s group learned about the Texel breed. It is a Dutch meat breed, but the wool is pretty nice—very springy.  M told us it was reputed to take dye well. We each took a few handfuls to wash and then spin. M had a small amount of clean and carded fiber for us. I can’t find it right now, but take my word for it, it looks like a fairly small skein of white wool.

texel after dyeingI washed my several handfuls and then brought it to M’s to dye in June (see previous post, Playing with Dyes), using a mixture of Azalea, Orchid, PawPaw, Tomato, Madder Orange Gaywool dyes. We could confirm that yes, the Texel takes dye quite well. I’m sure we used too much dye for this batch, and some of the colors we clearly stronger than others. The Paw Paw was very weak. The Tomato and Madder Orange were largely obliterated by the Azalea and Orchid. So much for the idea of an orange and pink mixture.

In November M and I card this. After the first pass the colors remained fairly distinct:

texel after one pass on carder

After the 2nd pass it was much more uniform. (This is several batts in a bag, packed for home)

texel after two passes on carderAfter I finished the merino silk, I started spinning this. I haven’t been spending regular time spinning, so it is going rather slowly. I have one bobbin full. It is also still a a bit trashy, including some short bits. The floor where I spin gets messy from the things I pull out.  This is what was left a couple weeks ago.

texel being spunThis is a lot of pink. TH wonders what I am doing with this much pink, especially since I am not spinning it as sock yarn for DJ.

texel waiting to be spun

There is a little variation in the color, but since we carded it twice, it is quite pink. Excessively pink.  If it wasn’t a breed I knew nothing about, I would ply it with something else to tone it down, but I want to keep it all Texel.

Playing with dyes

2012-08-001In late June, M had a use it or lose it vacation day, so I went up and we played around with an assortment of Gaywool dyes that she had acquired. Neither of us had every used these dyes before. Neither of us wanted a measure carefully kind of day, so we messed around to see the colors. We did make small samples and we did take notes on what we did. I don’t have the notes, so this is from memory. The colors we had were: Azalea, Orchid, Mulberry, Cyclamen, Watermelon, PawPaw, Tomato, Madder Orange, Daisy, Bluegum, Blueberry, Lucerne, and Cedar.

2012-08-010Batch 1 was on my portion of Dolly, the Texel sheep. I used something like Azalea, Orchid, PawPaw, Tomato, Madder Orange.  It looked like there was still dye left, so I added  grey wool (1/2 Romney, 1/4 Corriedale 2012-08-011cross, 1/8 Karakul, 1/8 Suffolk cross) that had been hanging out here for years (that I got at a guild annual meeting from Robin, who had bought the fleece years before and used what she wanted).

2012-08-007Batch 2 was some of M’s Dolly fleece. She used something like Mulberry, Cyclamen, Watermelon, Bluegum, Blueberry. We used the same grey wool in the exhaust bath but we turned off heat when we went to lunch. No color went into the wool and we redyed it.

2012-08-002I think batch 3 was Daisy, Bluegum, Blueberry, Lucerne, and Cedar. This was on a batt of white wool, perhaps Corriedale. 2012-08-004Exhaust bath was the same grey wool, except we added mordant because it seemed like the blue wasn’t getting picked up. I don’t recall what mordant.

2012-08-008Batch 4 was largely some handspun yarn labelled “I didn’t spin this” that became much prettier after the dyes. M tried an orderly choice of colors, thinking in a circle. We had been thinking linearly before, which meant the first and last colors often were not good next to2012-08-009 each other. We did an inadequate job of tieing the skein so M wound up with a bit of a mess and I didn’t get photos in August. I think this was with the skein. And I think this blue one is the exhaust bath, with mordant added.

2012-08-006Batch 5 was a bit of an attempt to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, trying the colors we didn’t like so well. It worked OK on a batt of some white wool. The grey wool was below and the batt didn’t allow even penetration of the dye. 2012-08-005And these colors were on grey so not so great. They do a look a lot better dry than they did wet. I know we use Daisy, and maybe PawPaw, Tomato, Madder Orange, and watermelon

2012-08-013M and I got together again in August to start carding the wool. It didn’t take quite that long for the wool to dry, but it felt a bit like it took that long. We started with batch 3 exhaust. It was crocking terribly. The batts look nice, though. In order to be more even, they will need more passes to mix them together. We may work with 4X and mix gradually from blue to green. But that’s a lot of carding and we haven’t gotten back to it yet.

Kool-Aid Dyeing

At Spinner’s last month, NW showed us yarn and roving dyed with Kool-Aid. She then gave packets to any of us who wanted to try it and referred us to an article in Knitty. I thought it sounded like a good Memorial Day weekend activity.

Of course, I couldn’t just use the packets by themselves, I had to experiment a bit more. NW had some very nice colors by dyeing grey. I decided to mix the colors to see what I could get. By Kool-Aid dyeing standards I was pretty careful about measurements, but I was pretty casual in my measurements.

I used fleece from an unknown breed, but I think the sheep was named Freckles. (Yes, very useful piece of information.) Maybe M remembers – I bought it with her about 9 years ago specifically for combing. The wool was cleanish. It was a bit greasy and some of the locks were quite tight and in most cases I made not attempt to loosened them up to absorb the dye better (so the results are uneven, which should help with the over bright colors).

I weighed out about 12 gr (+/- 2 g) for each sample.

I did 5 samples at a time using 2 packets of Kool-Aid (or Mixaid)

I mixed each packet with about 10 T of water. I then added dyes to the 5 small containers in the following manner:

Dye A: 4 T Dye B: 0 T
Dye A: 3 T Dye B: 1 T
Dye A: 2 T Dye B: 2 T
Dye A: 1 T Dye B: 3 T
Dye A: 0 T Dye B: 4 T

Koolaid dyeing

Starting at the right in the photo, the pairs are:
Mixaid Tropical Punch & Mixaid Grape
Mixaid Tropical Punch & Kool-Aid Lemonade
Mixaid Strawberry & Mixaid Lemon-Lime
Mixaid Strawberry & Kool-Aid Orange
Kool-Aid Black Cherry & Kool-Aid Lemon-Lime
Kool-Aid Grape & Kool-Aid Orange

The 2nd to last pair above included ½ t of Black Cherry with the Lemon-Lime to mute the green a smidge.

The last pair included 1 t of the other color in the first and last samples

I then added enough water to cover the already wet wool and put it in the microwave for 2.5 minutes (my initial water was warm but not really hot). I let it sit for a bit and then another 2 minutes. I waited again and then another 2 minutes. I checked it at this time to see if it was done. I think I went a few more times on a couple of these in a failed attempt to get all the color to be picked up. (The red dyes fully absorbed but the yellow and the blue were not fully absorbed by the wool.)