Friday, 31 January 2014

Clean and Colourful

I'm still officially tired of all this silly cold weather.  Yesterday's high of -6 felt warm and balmy!  We've used so much wood already, I'm hoping we have enough to last until the spring.  However, to distract myself from woodstove cleaning and loading, I decided to break out of the winter rut, and just get back to playing with fibre and colour.    I have some Shetland fleece that I haven't been able to get clean.  There is so much lanolin in it that by the time I start getting it out, the fleece is starting to felt up.  I asked my friend Linda what she used because she sells fibre from her sheep.  She put me on to a commercial degreaser from the hardware store.  I figured it would be worth the $4 and change to try a handful. 

The degreaser (orange Zep) comes with all sorts of horrid warnings, like keep away from sparks  and to let sit for 1 minute on surfaces before removing, among them, but I put a small amount in a sink full of hot water and put in my handful of greasy fibre.   I left it about 1 minute and I could visibly see the water get cloudy and icky.  When I pulled the fibre out, there was a noticeable change.  I washed it 2 times normally afterwards, with 2 rinses.  The fibre is perfectly clean!  It's soft, not overwashed and brittle.  There isn't any felting at all.  While I still despair at having to pick out the tons of VM, I'm thrilled with the fact that this fibre is clean and not sticky at all.

 On a roll with successful projects, I spun up a couple of skeins of yarn I was happy with as well, I broke out the dyes.  While I have no issues with tossing a bunch of weeds in a pot and whipping up a nature dye, sometimes I hesitate with acid dyes, for no discernable reason that I can find.  The easiest thing for me to do, is to just jump in, so with a goal of using just 2 colours and a pot, I mixed up a 1% solution of burgandy and navy.  I first chose 100 grams of white Shetland.  I decided on just non-scientific kettle dyeing and a few spoons of dye here and there, simmering for a while, letting it cool overnight and poof - fabulous colour!

The next day, after I got home from a sloper drafting day out, I put the pot on again.  I put in 100 grams of light grey roving.  I used 1/3 the amount of dye as I'd used for the red roving and got this spectacular pink, purple and blue.   This was a really fun and productive couple of days, to get the creative muscles stretching, with fibres I'm going to love spinning.

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