Posts Tagged ‘dyeing’

Several weeks ago I told you all about my spinning guild’s challenge to do something creative with an ounce of wool.  I promised that, once the challenge was done, I’d post about the process.  Well, the spinning guild met last week to share about the challenge and to return the finished project to the person from whom we had gotten the wool.  I made sure to journal during the process, so I think I’ll just post some journal entries and photos that I took of the project along the way.  Enjoy!

April 25, 2010:

Received 1 ounce of white alpaca for my creativity challenge.  Oh boy.  This is not good since I’m not the most creative or artistic person in the world.  I could, I suppose just spin a very fine single and knit a small scarf and call it good, but this somehow feels like me chickening out.  It’s safe for me to spin and knit something, but jumping into the pool and going for something artistic or different?  Now that’s a challenge.  Time to look through my spinning books for inspiration.


I was looking through the book Intertwined by Lexi Boeger and was inspired by a picture of a sea anemone.  It was white, dark to pale pink, with hints of yellow and green.  I decided I wanted to use that color palette and to let the sea anemone/sea theme inspire me.  Oddly, this photo also reminded me of Japan, maybe cherry blossoms?  So maybe I could include some Japanese ephemera in the piece.  Later in the book, there was a technique involving spinning coils around a wire core.  Cool!  I then had the idea of what the finished project might be:  a coil bowl, maybe a sort of jar with lid, in the colors of the sea anemone.  It might be something interesting to put on a dresser and hold jewelry, change, tickets from a night out, whatever.  So, the next step is to start dyeing the fiber.

April 28, 2010:

I’ve gone through my dyes and picked out the color that most closely matches those I saw in the photo of the sea anemone.  I’ve also calculated the amounts of dye needed to make a pale shade, a medium shade, and a dark shade of the pink.  Just need to get a bucket to pre-soak the fiber in Synthrapol.

May 2, 2010:

Dyeing day!  I wound the fiber into a circle of about a 2-foot diameter and tied it to help it stay together and soaked it in a solution of Synthrapol, water, and citric acid for 30 minutes.  I then placed it on plastic wrap and painted the fiber using a sponge brush with the pale, medium, and dark shades of pink and left some white.  After I made sure that the dye had soaked in, I wrapped the fiber in the plastic wrap and put it in an electric roaster with some water in it at a temperature of around 250. I left it in there for about 40 minutes or so.  This helps set the dye.  I took the fiber out of the electric roaster and let it sit in the sink to cool down overnight.

May 3, 2010:

Soaked fiber in room temperature water for 20 minutes.  I didn’t see any extra dye in the water.   Squeezed out extra moisture and draped on a drying rack to dry.  This is a really fine roving, so it shouldn’t take long to dry.

May 4, 2010:

Spun up the fiber today.  I spun it semi-woolen and left thick and thin spots.  Also, left a bit of the alpaca undyed and unspun to be available for additions.

May 6, 2010:

I plied my single with a copper-colored thread today.  I also plied in some strips of green and dark pink fabric.  I’ll leave other bits to spin in when I’m coiling it around the wire.  I’m still not 100% sure how this will turn out, but I’m just going with it.  The plying of the fabric didn’t go well.  The fabric was too stiff to ply in easily.  I may have to fiddle with that later.  Also, the fabric didn’t feed through the hooks on my wheel very well and kept getting caught on things.  ARgh!  Frustrating.  Need to get wire from craft store.  Wonder what gauge to get? 

Maybe 11, 2010:

I spun the yarn onto the coil yesterday, lots of difficulties.  The wire (it came on a spool) gave me all sorts of fits.  It sprung off the spool and acted like a slinky toy.  Then, as I spun, it got all twisted up and started tangling itself up and tried to tangle the yarn in the mess too.  I finally had to cut the wire in order to untwist it.  It was easier to control after that.  So, I kept measuring off 5 feet or so and work with it that way.  Of course, it flew all over the place as I spun.  Luckily, there were no injuries!  I ran out of wire though, so will need to get more.  Will also try to figure out a way to control the wire better.  Oh, I’ve also decided that the thick and thin nature of the yarn isn’t ideal for a coil pot.  So, scrap that idea.  Maybe I’ll try knitting it into a scarf shape and then it can be a piece of wall art.  The needles could be left in as a way to hang it.  Interesting shaping of the wire could add some interest too.

May 12, 2010:

I finally got to the craft store for more wire.  I think I forgot to mention what gauge I ended up with (at the advice of a craft store person):  24 gauge.  It’s most typically used for beading.  Hope it works.  This time I wound the wire around a paddle of cardboard and held it in place with a rubber band.  This worked much better.  It could spin as it needed to without flying around and hitting me in the face.  So, it’s all spun up now.  Just need to set the twist in hot water for a few minutes and let it dry.  Then – what will it be?

May 15, 2010:

Frustration, again!  The gauge of the wire is too stiff to let me knit it or intricately shape it in any way!  It just keeps bouncing out of control and wildly waving around.  ARgh!    Must put away until temper is under control (stuffs project on shelf on buffet).

May 16, 2010:

Enlightenment has arrived.  The project does not want to be anything other than what it was always meant to represent/be:  a representation of a sea anemone!  It’s shape is full of movement and curves all on its own without me trying to force my will upon it.  So, it shall remain in its current shape and I’ll just tame it a bit by hanking it up and putting some ties on it so it doesn’t take up as much room while I’m trying to get it to the spinning guild meeting.  I think it would look nice as wall art or a center piece or maybe just a piece on a dresser that one can hang jewelry on.  In the end, I decided to leave off the Japanese ephemera and let it be the sea creature it wants to be.


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