12 July 2012

Dyeing Fiber with Food Dyes

I wanted to let you all know that I will be on a trip to Las Vegas for a conference this weekend, so if I'm slow in responding that is why, I apologize in advance!

Before leaving, I decided to dye some roving I purchased a while ago.  It is apparently Cheviot wool, which I have never really experienced before.  I actually ordered this fiber online, and upon opening it up I was really disappointed with how it had been prepared.  Because of the bits of stuff sticking out of it and the overwhelming smell of lanolin, I have reason to suspect that it has not been processed very well.  This was further evident in the fact that it was very difficult to dye.


I dyed part of it using Wilton's food dyes, pretty much the same way as I did in my previous post and I was not completely satisfied with it.  The colors just didn't want to stick!


Once I finish spinning this fiber, I plan on washing it thoroughly and then attempting to dye it again to see how that might work.  Also, I remembered that the awesome Sara from A Year at the Wheel, has tons of tips on how to wash wool correctly, so I may follow her directions and see if that might make a difference as well.


But, if dyeing teaches me anything, it is that sometimes it doesn't go at all according to plan.  I'm looking forward to this fiber as an ongoing challenge that I have to tackle.  Perhaps I will make something I'm truly proud of in the end!

16 comments:

  1. ooooh that is so ultra pretty, I love the colours you've dyed!!!! (and the fact that you are brave enough to spin and dye!!!) have a lovely day xxx

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  2. Oh, I hate it when that happens! I used to buy full fleece years ago, but I found I really don't have the patience for washing them. I hope this turns into a good experience, even though the beginnings were a little rocky!

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  3. I hate when that happens! I got a bunch of raw alpaca as a present and while some of it was great, some of it was not so great. When I get my fiber to dye I always order it from here( http://www.thesheepshedstudio.com/index.html ) It is cheep and you can get a pound of just white wool for cheap and divide it up how you want. I still thinks it looks great for having such a yard time with it!

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  4. What a shame! Well, I'm sure you can whip it into shape once it's spun. For what it's worth, I do like the colors you did get it to take. :)

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  5. I think of unicorns, clouds, rainbows, and cotton candy with that wool.

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  6. Wow. I plan to do some dying this weekend too. Sorry that wool was so hard to work with, it does look a bit ify in your final photo, like it's already felted a bit? Good luck!

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  7. Learning, experimenting it's all part of the excitement and fun of working with fiber! I'm sure that you'll turn this into something wonderful - and have a few more tricks for the next time you encounter uncooperative wool!
    Can't wait to see what you do - and hear about your trip :)

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  8. I gave you a Lovely Blog Award, because I love your blog! come take a look:
    http://trinket-t.blogspot.com/2012/07/nightsongs-and-lovely-blog-award.html

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  9. For something that didn't go according to plan, you still have a pretty dye job at the end of it ;)

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  10. I am sorry that the fibre doesn't take as well as you hoped. But to be honest, the colourway doesn't look that bad. Pretty pastel colours and I am sure once it' spun you will love it

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  11. I too, think the colors are so pretty. Reading about your dyeing adventures has been so fun and insightful!
    *smiles*

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  12. You are tempting me to get my KP Bare fingering weight out and put some color to it.

    hugs

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  13. Thanks for the mention, Ivy! That reminds me, I really need to polish my wool-washing tutorial so I can get it published. :) And I agree, it looks like that fiber wasn't prepared correctly: an excess of lanolin in the wool makes it difficult for the dye to absorb properly.

    That said, though, I love how your colors turned out! So lovely and muted. All of your dyeing always turns out so wonderfully!

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  14. Thank goodness for over dying.

    I wonder where the wool was processed. Seeing veg matter isn't always a bad thing. To get all the veg matter out of wool, some mills will use acid to burn it out, which can weaken the fiber. But I can see that the feel and smell of lanolin can be a little overwhelming if you aren't expecting it.

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  15. I had the same problem when I tried to dye just a bite of random (no idea what kind, which isn't helpful for future efforts...) roving for needle felting---where the wool yarn I've dyed took Kool-Aid's radioactive colours like a dream, the roving turned out really blotchy and pastel. Hm.

    Yours turned out better than mine, I think you could spin that up into some really pretty (if subtle) yarn. :)

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  16. I've been thinking about trying my hand at spinning and dyeing, never have done either. Thanks for reading.

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