Wednesday, February 20, 2008

On the Ashford

This is the latest bit of yarn that I'm spinning. It's the last of Frankie Lee, a Romney ram from Indiana (soon to move to KY.) I bought this bump last weekend at YarnAlong. It wasn't my intention to buy more fiber, but it was just sitting there and needed to come home with me. That's the way it goes.

I posted this on Ravelry in the Ashford spinners forum and got several questions as to my dying technique. My "technique" is really not a technique. I just play with colors and experiment.

For this particular hunk of roving I decided to be a little wild with purple and green. I don't have a lot of room so I need to work in small batches. I wanted to control the colors a bit more with this batch, so I pulled the roving apart in 3-foot lengths. (I'm banging my head on the keyboard because I should have taken photos...drat!) I put copious amounts of plastic on my white counter tops and laid the roving out, side by side.

For the dye I mixed rather small batches in jelly jars. I used straight from the jar colors, which is pretty unusual for me. I'm a "mixer/blender." Oh, while I was prepping the area and mixing, "Frankie Lee" was soaking in a pot of water with a bit of vinegar. I squeezed out all the excess water before arranging it on the plastic. With an old turkey baster (never use dying equipment for food...once contaminated, keep it separate) I put down blotches of color working from left to right. First color was about an 8-inch section with chartruese blotches, then 2 inches of turquoise blotches, then about 6 inches of lavender, another two inches of turquoise, 6 more lavendar and then more chartreuse. I let the yarn sit and absorb the dye.

After about a half hour, I rolled it into yarn burritos. I divided it in half and rolled it up. Too much for one burrito. I put it in a zip loc and in another zip loc and then off to the microwave. I have a spare microwave in the garage that I use for dying. I put one bag in for 1 minute and when it was done, took it out, and put the other bag in for a minute. I alternated bags until they were hot to the touch. Not very scientific, but it works. After the microwave treatment, I let the fiber cool off in their bags. Don't get over anxious and open them right away as the steam is very intense. Once cool, I rinsed the roving in cool water and hung to dry.

When the lengths of roving were dry, I pre-drafted and wound into loose balls. All the balls are wound starting from the same end, so I'll hopefully get a somewhat consistent pattern. Once spun into singles, I'll ply into a 2-ply yarn. Should be about worsted or heavy worsted weight.

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