I usually buy my 8ply (dk/Light worsted) from the Bendigo Woolen Mill which does have a really good range to choose from although I think they are a bit lacking in the orange/yellow shades and not enough brights. But their quality is good and consistant; the price is really good and the wool comes in 200g balls which is an absolute bonus for people like me who are allergic to sewing in ends.
I decided to start dying my own wool.
A Simple statement with so few words but boy did that open a huge learning curve for me. My only previous experience with dyeing was a term spent doing an organic chemistry option on natural dyestuffs when I was in Yr 11 at Secondary school. Lets just say that was a lot of years ago.
My first approach was to go to the internet and find any information I could on the subject. That led me to thinking that I would use synthetic dyes rather than the natural ones as they are easier to get reproduced colours with and in terms of toxicity they are pretty much on a par with the mordants needed for the natural dyes.
More reading and lots of hours later (with books on the subject being added to the mix) I started searching for the equipment that I needed. Oh how I envy the crafters in the US sometimes. Trying to get some of the equipment that I've read about is impossible to get locally and the shipping/postage would make this an expensive hobby.
Move on a couple of months and I dyed my first batch of samples the other day. They aren't great, or even very good- but they are my first attempt and I've really pleased. I can see the faults. I know that the mini skeins are streaky and that most of the dye has adhered to the surface rather than sinking into the fibre but I know what I did wrong so next time they should be better.... fingers crossed.
|Original sample, Blue 1%, Various DOS Grey|
To explain the title - well I was taking the mini skeins out of the dye baths and putting them in the sieve and rinsing them. At the same time I was talking to Mr Anti-Chaos so was a little distracted. I poured the 4th batch of 6 into the sieve and a lot splashed up, so I quickly mopped it up because I didn't want to add grey to the blue and spots of red I had already left behind on my laminex. (It didn't hit me as strange that the liquid was still grey). Still talking I looked back to the empty! sieve and the mind went straight into panic mode. Where did the wool go???? Oh no it splashed out and slithered down the drain (ala spaghetti)! What am I going to do now. Damn!
Mr Anti-Chaos asked me what was wrong in response to the dumbfounded look on my face and when I explained the problem he just laughed. Yes he laughed! I guess it was funny. I had forgotten to put the wool into that jar so of course there was no wool to rinse and the dye bath was still grey as it hadn't exhausted.
Anyway I have to play around with the grey a bit more to get the shade I want, this one as is is too blue. I'll post a photo of the next lot when its done