A Bit Of An Experiment

I took some time out the other day to dye up a few more rovings for Maiden Yarn. Unfortunately, I didn’t think ahead enough, and I found myself with pre-soaked four ounce bundles of roving, and no foil pans big enough to hold them.

I did have one non-disposable tray left, so I used it for one of the batches: this lovely repeat colorway. (You may recognize the color pattern from way back when. I dyed it first on some of the silver-gray Romney roving I bought at the Yellow Daisy Festival.) The fun thing about the repeats was that it braided up with colors to colors, as you can see. I’m really happy with the way that one turned out.

Then, while I was puzzling over how to go about dyeing the other rovings, as my only big-enough pan was full, I played with that thick and thin yarn I spun. Really deep, rich colors. (This particular one sold the very day I listed it! Praise God! That was quite the surprise.) And I discovered that the “fulling” method of setting the twist on a single ply works very nicely.

With a normal yarn you have two or more plies that combine to even out the twist and make the yarn stay straight. In a single ply, you have twist running rampant from one end to the other. The solution? Plunge it into a pot of hot water, then whack it against something for a little bit. This doesn’t “felt” the yarn (if you stop soon enough) but it does help it behave itself.
Now, granted, for this one I didn’t even have to whack it. The pre-soak, hot water, and dyeing process taught it good manners like nothing else would.

I eventually decided to just layer the remaining rovings into my medium sized pots (as the biggest was full of wool locks) and pour in dyes as I went. This created a really cool watercolor effect and produced these two rovings.

The one on the top is called Tempest, and the one below is Dragonfly Wings.

This was my first time using fibers from a new dealer, so the dyeing was a bit of a trial run. The merino (red/gold/green/blue pictured at the top) took up the dye really well and got a pretty good intensity of color, while the other two Corriedale Crosses went a little more middle ground.

I have more of each fiber, so I’m looking forward to giving them another test run. It could be that the Corriedale just didn’t get as intense of a dye solution as the merino. So many factors! It seems like so long ago that I was a beginner, just dumping dye in as I felt like it. The amount of knowledge anyone picks up while learning a new hobby is just amazing. And there’s always something new lurking around the corner!

One Response to A Bit Of An Experiment
  1. Linda Burklin
    July 22, 2010 | 7:21 pm

    So lovely! I love those intense colors. Makes me kind of wish I could somehow squeeze spinning into my life . . . but I can’t.

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