Thursday, 15 November 2012

Gradient Dyeing

Its Thursday so its dyeing day!  Thursday mornings are all mine - Mr S goes to his wood turning class and I have four hours of completely me time.  Very selfishly I let nothing come between me and this very precious time.  Its not that I don't love Mr S to pieces, but some times you need space to be yourself and this is what Thursday mornings have become.................. a man free fibre time.

Today I am experimenting with gradient dyeing.  I have dyed yarn by this method before, but attempts to dye roving haven't been as good as I had hoped for.  Some of this may be due to physical and space restraints, and some I must put down to operator error.  The major problem as I see it, is too ensure that the colour seamlessly changes - no blotches or bleeding.  My usual dyeing method just doesn't allow for this.

For spaced dyed tops I either arrange the top in a spiral or in equal length strips and then apply the dye - this is not unique and there are examples of these methods in numerous blogs and on line tutorials - so I am not going to go into detail.  These methods do not work, for me at least, for gradient dyeing - so how to achieve the desired result.

It seemed obvious that there had to some physical division between the shades and that cling film wasn't up to the task - I had even tried clipping between colours, but then I had a portion of undyed yarn where the clips had been - another failure.  Whilst in a well-known supermarket the other day I notice that for the princely sum of £1.23 I could get four beer glasses - very thick glass, but fairly straight sided and with a capacity of 570ml or one pint in old money - just the job.

So four glasses with 500ml of water and decreasing amounts of dye solution are currently steaming gently. Normally I use a microwave, but was worried that the fibre that was not completely submerged would dry out and burn.

So here is how I did it:

Back Left - Black DOS 4, Back Right - Black DOS 1, Front Right - Granite DOS 0.5 and Front Left -- no dye. I put one end of the top in the back left glass and the other in the front left, and put the middle section equally in the two right glasses.  Point to remember - put the glasses in the steamer basket first, it was quite difficult to move four glasses full of fibre and dye............

Here are the four glasses in the steamer - I had to use the second basket upside down to get enough height and the lid doesn't fit that well, so there was some dripping, but nothing topping up didn't cope with.

This is the first 50grams after rinsing

There was quite a lot of exhaust so I put another 50grams of fibre in the dyes and it was all absorbed


So now I am trying anther 100grams - with turquoise and pink this time.  Although this method seems to be working fairly well, but I am only dyeing 50 grams at a time - need to find a way to increase to at least 100grams - litre glasses perhaps, but they fit in the steamer? 

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