Friday, 27 November 2015

The Purpleish Cotton

It started with this dye vat, using up the leftover fibre reactive dye.   I'd found this bag of Acala cotton roving that I'd put on the back of the cellulose fibre shelf.   I know I bought it for a level 3 or 4 homework session, because it was specifically labelled Acala cotton.  It is shorter than Pima or Egyptian cotton, so a tad harder to spin.   I have a bag of Acala cotton lint, which is easy to card into punis and quite easy to spin.

I was pretty happy with the dye results, although it was definitely a tad uneven.  The roving came out fairly unscathed and hardly compacted at all.   That made me very happy was well.   Once it was dry, I started to spin it.   Then I remembered why it had been shoved to the back of the shelf.    The roving is full of neps, little balls and clumps of fibre that just didn't want to spin and were the devil to pick out.   Then I remembered that I didn't even bother with this roving for my homework, because it was  awful to work with.

Since I'd dyed just over 50 g of fibre, I wasn't going to waste it.  I haphazardly divided it into 2 sort of equal pieces.   I carded it up into punis.  Lots and lots of punis.  I carded 6 or so at a time and then spun it up, switching to a different bobbin for the second half of the fibre.

It was quite easy to spin but really difficult to maintain any kind of consistency, with all those neps.  I tried really hard to pick them out, or attenuate them some how, or just smooth them out and pack them in, to create at least an illusion of consistency.    However, in the end, it was obvious that my efforts were being wasted, so I just spun it up quickly, to get it over with.

All things considered, the yarn turned out quite nicely.  It is definitely not my best yarn every made, but it is much more consistent in grist that looks than I'd anticipated.   So, I'm happy.  It is soft, pretty and useable.  The colour and grist will go nicely with the blues I spun and dyed this summer at Olds during the level 6 class.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Colour and more colour

I found a braid of fibre, 80% Bluefaced Leicester /20% nylon and spun it up.  There was only about 100 g of it.  I was going to do a 3 ply yarn but decided that I really didn't like the colours enough to spend that much time spinning it.  It's a nice yarn, just not my favourite colours.   I am considering passing it on to a friend since really, I can't think of particular project I would use this for, except maybe a scarf.  Really though, what kind of wear and tear would a scarf go through to need that percentage of nylon for durability?

There has been a lot of colour lately; dye pots full of rainbows! Fibre Reactive rainbows.  I love the colours that fibre reactive dye produces.  It is bright and cheery, with intense, clear colours.    Once the dye powder is hydrated, the resulting solution isn't supposed to last but a few days as the dye bonds not only with the fibre but with the water as well.   Besides the brilliant colours, the bonuses of Fibre Reactive dyes are that it will dye both protein and cellulose fibres, depending on which process you use and it is a 
relatively safe dye.
But these colours are amazing!   I love having such a wide range of colour possibilities for whatever project I have in mind.   Natural dyes give one range of colours, acid dyes another and fibre reactive dyes yet another set of shades.

A few days after I dyed the above colours, which are wool yarns.   I did a bit of an impromptu dyeing session.   I took the dyes that had been mixed for dyeing protein fibres at 2% solution and added a urea solution to diluted the dyes to 1%.   Then I fished out a remnant of white flax tow and some generic
tow flax

acala cotton roving and did a bit of an experiment to see if I could dye with the leftovers.   Pretty colours resulted from the effort.    The pink cotton is a bit uneven.   I pre-soaked the fibre for almost 2 hours but still it didn't totally open  the fibre.   If I could have scoured the fibre first, I think it would have been more even, but boiling the roving wasn't even a consideration that morning.  I could have also tried adding a few drops of soap to the soak water.

Acala cotton roving
  However, in the end, my first  mix of dye was much to purple than what I was after, so I just added more red until I got a colour that I was happy with.   I did all the math to begin with.  I had all my amounts carefully measured and tossed it out the window to get a colour I liked.   In this case, it bumped the DOS (depth of shade) darker than I wanted, so having a bit of white mixed it will make it heathery and lighter coloured, which is what I wanted in the first place.   

Sunday, 8 November 2015

In which it seems like little was accomplished, but...

 It has been difficult getting anything done right now.  The weather got cooler.   This combined with the fact that the garage has been a kitchen cupboard making assembly line this summer and the fronts, frames and some of the cabinet boxes are being stored there, all the painting made it's way into the living room of all places.   Well, the living room and the hall way.  Large flat work surfaces have been erected so that painting and drying can happen in a warmer room.

All the priming had been done already, during the summer.   I got to help with that because the work surfaces were at a height that worked for me.   With all this inside stuff, the height of the work spaces just doesn't work for me, so hubby has been puttering away at the painting.   There are just 2 edges left to finish up on the upper cupboards, which I think were misses rather than planned for the next session.  The yellow paint colour, which I chose for the upper cupboards will be used for the walls as well, when we actually get to that point.   However, it looks really pale everywhere except in the kitchen, where the light makes it look just fine.   The bottom cupboards will be red.  Doing them all red was just going to be too dark, so by splitting up the paint colours, I still get my red cupboards.  However, because of all the painting, it's been difficult to actually get anything done and really, I can't complain at all.

We've had some lovely bonus days lately, with very unseasonably mild temperatures and sunshine.   We actually didn't run the stove at all for 4 days as it was just too warm.   Kevin wasn't impressed at all with this.   He loves to sleep in front of the stove when it is pumping heat out.   When he wants to warm up, and there wasn't a fire, he started crawling right up to the window and staring in.  Luckily he doesn't do it when the stove is warm, so we don't worry about him being hurt when he presses his little nose to the glass. 

I've been playing with gluten free ginger cookie recipes.  So far I've gotten cookies which are edible, some which are decent but not any which are perfect and worth sharing.   Meanwhile I am getting my ginger cookie fix. 

Knitting happening.   I'm finally on the second front of the cardigan but because I had to rip out half of the first side, it's taken a bit longer.   Not so much that much extra knitting time, but you know that week and a half or more that I sat around staring at the fact that I had knit 6 inches using the wrong pattern instructions and wondering how I managed that.   Then I was finally able to rip out and reknit the offending 6 inches.

  Lots of spinning, but I forgot to take photos!  Like really!  That is a new one for me.   I did manage to make a dust cover for my sweetie's practice amplifier.  It is a good thing to keep the sewing machine working  once in a while.    While it seems to me like I didn't get much done, I think I might actually have done so.