Friday, February 29, 2008

Fiber Friday #5

Baked and simmered

Inspired by this year's Project Spectrum, an exploration of color and elements, I'm dedicating (the last bit of February and) March to delving into the element of "Fire" by playing with the heat during the application of "hot" colors (pink, red, orange). Heating the dye first, heating the yarn first, baking, microwaving, stewing: all methods of heat-setting colors to fiber and yarn. The first experiment were the two yarns at the top, one baked, one simmered.

This one is "Spicy Bake” . I used new (to me) organic yarn which is treated without any chemicals (just washed in soap and water by the farm). I first soaked the yarn in warmish water, then spread it out in a glass lasagna pan and mixed up some colors (I’m not very scientific, but most solutions have about a tsp of dye powder with a cup of water): a few shades of pink, 1 red, 1 orange. I then poured these dyes over the 2 skeins, trying to get both skeins equally with all colors and smooshing the yarn to spread it a bit.

It turned out beautifully and with each color much more distinct then in the simmered yarn, which is called, appropriately "Spicy Simmer".

Spicy Simmered

You can see that the colors are much more mingled, creating an almost solid effect. This was kettle-dyed by plopping the yarn (unsoaked) into a pot of water and turning up the heat while sprinkling in dye. I added the lightest colors first, let the water heat up and once the yarn was hot, I sprinkled on a few of the darker colors. Putting dye on hot wool causes the dye to "strike" almost immediately and prevents the dye from just mingling with the other dyes to create new colors (although of course this happens a bit too).

This was a fun experiment and it has informed my dyeing in a way I hadn't expected. I'll definitely be playing with this more, with a whole range of colors and reporting on it here.

Happy weekend, fiberheads!