Friday, 15 June 2018

Low Immersion Dyeing experiment 1

4 hours of soaking without heat - unintentionally
 I decided to play around with some low immersion dyeing techniques.  Usually, I use a 40:1 water to WOF (weight of fibre) calculation, which allows the dye to mix in evenly and give great solid colours.   With low immersion, you purposely use less water to keep the dye from moving too freely, and more vinegar to help the dye strike quickly.    It's a technique to create varigated yarns and fibre locks, in a disorganized fashion.   That just means you can't really plan where the colours will fall and will probably get some surprise colour blending.
So, I started the first batch by picking a whole lot of mohair locks.  I laid them out in the pan with about 3 litres of water and a half a cup of vinegar.   You can use vinegar or citric acid - both work just fine.  Vinegar is cheap and available locally.  I have to order citric acid in.  It's more expensive, but you use less.   Generally though it's the shipping which is over the top.  

mohair locks after heating and drying.
It started to rain just as I was getting ready to add the dye.  It was a hard, torrential downpour, with crazy winds.   It only lasted 10 minutes though so I added the dye, navy, yellow and a tiny bit of grey.  I had just added the grey, leaving some white spots when the power went out.   I'd hoped it would be just a flicker but it was about 4 hours later before I could start heating the fibre.   By then the colours had migrated over all the white fibres.

It took ages and an addition of extra vinegar to get the dye to exhaust.  I'd obviously added too much.  In the end, there was little yellow or blue but just a jumble of different greens.  Pretty for sure, but not what I'd hoped for.  At least with the power outage, it wasn't a complete failure.

I used one of the bags of level 6 project fleece and tried again.  This time there was no power failure.  The colours held quite well and I was happy enough with the final colours of the locks.   I'm worried that the locks spun together might make a muddy coloured yarn, but as locks used for novelty yarns, or adding to white they could be quite stunning.

Now I have some more ideas to play around with.  Trying this with sock yarn could be spectacular.   Maybe I'll give it a go with some sliver as well. The colours could be a little easier to play with.  I'm pretty sure you wouldn't want to use too many colours with this technique or you'd risk getting lots of muddy browns.

It's lots of fun though.  These were both acid dyes on protein fibre locks.


Woolly Bits said...

argh, the joys of electrification:( we have been lucky lately with only brief outages, but I am just waiting for the phone (incl.www) to go, because in one spot the wind has pulled out the screws, where the cable is fixed to one of the poles:( won't happen now, it always happens when one of us urgently needs the computer/phone:)
the colours look tempting - even those from the power outage! you could spin fibres by just grabbing bunches of colours, with either singles yarn or chain-plied? I discovered another big bag full of dyed fibres, so I am refraining from any dye sessions just now:)

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