Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Dyeing angora

I have been experimenting with color today. Now that I have re-joined the ranks of the unemployed, I decided to work on fiber. First I gathered up all my natural colored black and blue angora, and sorted it. I wound up with a little over a pound of prime, and about 12 oz of seconds. Then I found another bag of prime, lol!

Anyway, I took the pound or so of prime, and dumped it in hot, soapy water, then got out my dye pot and filled it half way with hot water, and added about 1/2 cup of vinegar, according to the directions for Cushing's acid dye. I brought it to a simmer, and added a packet of black dye, stirred thoroughly, then added most of the soapy fiber. It filled the pot nearly to the top!After gently moving the fiber around to insure even coverage, I then sprinkled some Royal Blue in one quadrant, Crimson in another, Bright Purple in another, and Turquoise Green in the last. I let it sit that way for a few minutes, then gently mixed each quadrant and let the pot simmer until the fiber had absorbed the color, about an hour. I let it cool for about another hour, then dumped it on top of a piece of scrap floor wire sitting on the deck. After letting it cool for another hour, I put it back in the pot and rinsed it gently with hot tap water and dumped it again, then picked it up and draped it over a wire cage I keep on the deck for just this purpose.

I was a little disappointed with how it turned out, the only jewel tones I got were the purple, they looked wonderful, and I got some true black, purple/black, and very little blue/black. But I also got a lot of warm brown. I'm guessing the red and green got together. So I grabbed the soapy fiber that wouldn't fit in the pot, and all the yucky warm brown stuff, and over-dyed it turquoise and royal blue. The blue worked, the turquoise looks olive. Oh well. I'm going to separate the olive out for something else, and work with the blacks, blues, and purples.

I have about 2 lbs of charcoal Shetland wool, I'm going to take a pound of it and try the same process on it, minus the red and green. Blended together, I should have enough for a nice, warm sweater or luxurious shawl. I haven't tried a shawl yet, I think it's time I did.

Meanwhile, my neighbor came out while I was arranging the fiber on the cage so it could dry. He asked what I was up to, and I said, "Dyeing angora!" What, he said? "You know, coloring it." Huh? Then the light came on. "OH," he laughed, "I thought you said 'dying angora', as in dying rabbit, and I wondered what that was you were putting on the cage and why!" lol

So a few minutes ago it started raining. Weather.com shows not a cloud in the sky, and there was no rain in the forecast, but it is raining. So out I run to gather up the still-damp fiber. Hopefully it will be sunny and warm tomorrow so it will finish drying.

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