Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Experimenting with colour the slow way..............

Wednesday May 1st - so a Woolly Wednesday and a quick update on happenings in Chez Sassy.

Besides spinning at a Model Railway Exhibition for two whole days in the main April has been a month of shawls and experiments.  Four shawls completed and a start made on my St Kida Shawl using the very expensive, but very beautiful Boreray and Soay yarn.

Two Romi's A Mysterious Shawl Kal - one in hand-spun and the other in MCN dyed by me.  The other two are designs from LindaCC - Siberian Iris and Spring Maple, both a delight to knit.

I have been experimenting with blending colours - inspired by Deb Menz's excellent book Color in Spinning which has a section on blending colours on a drum carder.  One of the things that I find really amazing is the way that black can disappear when mixed with other colours

This blend (the photo is lighter than real life) In Space...... consists of more black than the colours, but it is nearly lost once blended.  The proportions are 60grams Black (Merino and Silk) 30grams Amethyst (Merino and Silk) and 5grams of Fuchsia and 5grams of Rainbow Trilobal - so more black.... but where is it?

The second experiment is Solar Dyeing - that is using the heat of the sun to dye yarn in a sealed jar - so free energy.  As the weather forecast suggests that the temperature might actually get above freezing I thought today would be a good day to start the experiment.

First I soaked 100 grams of Merino and mordant the fibre in a solution of Alum 100 mil at 1:10 and Cream of Tartar (11/2 teaspoons).  But my Alum solution had crystallised so first I had to dissolve the crystals!

After allowing the fibre to cool a little I placed the fibre and some of the liquid into a Kilner Jar with 10 daffodil flowers, 20 mixed Peppercorns (Black, Red and Green), 1 Bay Leaf, 2 tiny strands of saffron and 1ml Botanical Colours Natural Dyes - Himalayan Rhubarb.  This last one is a but of a cheat, but at this time of the year there isn't a lot of natural stuff around so as you can see I have raided the spice cupboard.. 

This now gets left in the sun for several months........................ 

Oh, yes I did go to Wonderwool and had a fabulous time - retail therapy a real pick me up after a long winter!


  1. Wow you've been busy with the needles, lovely shawls!

    Will look forward to your solar dyeing results, something on my to "do list" this Summer.

    I'm merging blogs for Woolly Wednesday for next week, hope you can still join me x

    Dawn x

  2. Thank you - of course I'll join you - I love seeing what other people have done - plain nosey that's me!


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