Monday, June 11, 2018

Overdying Firestar

Okie dokie, recently I've been playing with my new to me drum carder and watching a ton of videos on blending/adding goodies to your fibers in order to add interest, color and texture to your fiber work. I have wool, mohair, alpaca and angora but didn't have any as of yet. Well, that changed recently. A local business sadly closed its doors but while I was there I was able to pick up a bunch of Firestar. (I did look up whether or not it was dye-able before making my purchase) I got a nice assortment of colors but wanted more variety and more solid tones. There will be a full list of dyes used at the end of this post.

I started with:
mottled blue, dark green, and purple (not shown)
a solid orange and bright green

Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture at the start of this. So, here's one of the un-dyed fibers (except purple) most of the way through the process.

I skimmed through Blue Barn Fibers blog post on her method and realized; I could dye an entire rainbow in a couple hours! I did mine over 4-5 batches, all while taking pictures and trying to keep careful track of what I dyed and with what kind/color dye. I was limited by the number of jelly jars I had clean and on hand. Even so it only took a couple hours Wed. morning.

 I did separate all of the firestar into 1/4 ox portions and rolled them into little nests the night before.

I scooped the dye (super scientific, I totally did not measure) into the bottom of my jars and added hot tap water over that. Mixing them thoroughly before adding my nests of fiber. 

For the last round, I did add a splash of vinegar to each jar. It deepened the color just a bit and I achieved a more even tone, however I don't believe it was 100% necessary. There was almost no change in the shade of the reds.

I carefully sat each jar next to its colorway just so I would know which firestar was dyed with which color. I let them "process" for between 5-10 minutes and then moved to the sink for rinsing out.

Rinse out and let each batch drain for a bit while setting up the next round.

I took lots of pictures during and tried to document as best I could while still trying to get as much dyed as possible. I also sped up the drying process by rolling one batch at a time in a dry (dark colored) towel and stepping on it to further squeeze out as much water as possible.

(Trying to get pictures in natural light)

I think this is round 4?

Done! As you can see the reds are not supper deep. Also the rainbow Firestar would not take much dye at all. Kind of like they were just tinted.

Overall I really like how everything came out and would definitely do this again! I do have several oz of white firestar left we'll see what the future brings!

List of Dyes:

Procion MX - Bronze
Country Classics - Golden Pear
Greener Shades - River Blue
Cushing's Perfection Dye - Copenhagen Blue
Jacquard acid dye - Lilac
Dharma Trading Co acid dye - Plum Danddy
Jacquard acid dye - Crimson
Washfast acid dye - Sky Blue
Jacquard - Chestnut
Greener Shades - Ruby Red
Jacquard - Spruce
Pro Chem acid dye - Woodsmoke
Jacquard - Emerald
Washfast acid dye - Country Green
Dharma Trading Co acid dye - Jet Black
Dharma Trading Co acid dye - Oxblood red

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Lanolin Experiment

May 8th
Right now as I'm writing this I'm 80% sure I've messed this up. . .

Sigh, let me start from the beginning. I have a ton of fleece with a ton of lanolin in it. So much so that it looks a bit orange on the under side!

I want to extract the lanolin from the wool without damaging it. They used to boil the wool for hours but I don't want to do that and ruin the wool. I did see a wool washing video from Bluemtnhandcrafts  where they were able to use their hottest tap water to wash the lanolin out. Which brings me to my fail. . . 

I used our hottest tap water and a little just under boiling in each pot. I did not take the temperature, I definitely will next time.

I started with my lock-ier, already rinsed fleeces and added them to the pots. I then let them soak for 30-40 minutes. Then I gently squeezed the water out and placed the wool into a couple pop up laundry baskets to dry.

Now I believe I failed because I can see actual bits of solidified lanolin in a few of the locks. Not a ton and mostly in the ones from the popcorn tin. This may be because it lost it's heat faster. I will know for sure tomorrow morning. I have all 3 pots sitting outside for now, hopefully it will cool down enough tonight for the lanolin to rise to the top. 

May 9th
Ok, it's the next morning, I'm not entirely dissapointed and I have a plan! While there is not a solid layer of lanolin at the top of my pots I do think it's there. When I dip my fingers in, they come back sticky. 

My plan is to:
  • Reuse the same water
  • Heat it to just under boiling
  • Add the locky wool I can visibly see lanolin in and let it sit for 30-45 minutes
  • Gently squeeze out the excess water (while trying not to burn myself) and
  • Let the locks dry, at least mostly, so that I can see if they need washed. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Try, Try Again . . .

Hey, me again. Its Spring so I must be getting the urge to share again. I'm going to just jump right in, I've had successes and failures. I'm taking a slight step back and regrouping as far as shows I'm vending goes. I'm not giving up. I repeat, I AM NOT GIVING UP!

I'm currently planning on uploading/editing on Mondays (ish). Because of the amount of housework and kids activities on Mondays I really have a hard time pulling out all of my supplies, getting started on a project and then cleaning everything up before I need to leave.

The rest of the week is a little up in the air at this point so we'll move onto Wips this last week.

This is a test piece for a Mermaid Captains coat

The first piece of embroidery on the mermaid coat. This is the center back. Unfortunately this wont work as the fabric is rubberized on one side and gums up the machine. I cannot risk the machine so I will have to use another fabric. Thankfully I have a very similar color in a similar weight with no rubber coating. I love the colors though. 

Here is another piece for the Mason Job. Almost done with the first part. I keep thinking I'm done but inevitably I'm not. However this was an addition not in the original order.

Another Captain's Coat. This one is in brown corduroy and a blue/tan paisley woven fabric
Viking "bread". I'll add the recipe after I've tweaked it some. 
I finished hemming and delivered this dark green cloak. This one was a pain. I started with 15 yards of fabric and dyed it all at the same time. It was beautiful!

Here it is draining the excess dye and water away. I hung a second tension rod up in the back of our shower, just for hanging things to drip dry. Unfortunately most of the darker color rinsed out!!

 This is after the second attempt and after the rinse out.
This section has a bit of a blue tinge to it.

 Third attempt
 Third attempt before the rinse
 Third attempt still damp
 Third attempt after the rise out
 Third go after rinsing and heat setting

 Forth attempt, getting closer. After the rinse out
Forth go round, still has some lighter sections

For the Fifth go I went ahead and cut the cloak out and then dyed it again along with using a color magnet in certain areas to increases the intensity of the dye for a cool patterned affect.

The final result is a nice deep green with an almost bark like pattern.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Experiment #426 Continued

Try, try, try again. . . 

Ok, so I wanted some more color on the cloak with copper and sepia dyes
It already looks like rust to me, so I thought I would give rust dyeing a try.

I laid the cloak out added found rusty objects and 
sprayed it down with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water. 
I added salt in various places to hopefully speed up the process.

Next after spraying it down multiple times I realized that it was just too hot and the whole thing was drying out too fast. So I wadded everything up and crammed it into a tote. Covered it in the vinegar water solution for 2 days!!

Unfortunately, it didn't work. Part of me wonders if the cheep vinegar is already watered down. Next time I will use full strength brand name vinegar. 

 The second round of eco dyeing at least had some success.
The only thing that seemed to take well were the sapling Catawba leaves. There's a faint print from the asparagus leaves in one or two places, but nothing dark enough to show up well on camera. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Eco Dyeing / Experiment #426 Fail

I was so excited when I woke up in the early morning full of energy! That doesn't happen very often these days. I went out and got the morning feeding done early, collected all of my supplies and set about giving eco dyeing another try. First I did some research using a book called North American Dye Plants. I've bookmarked everything I remembered seeing easily accessible to me, which was quite a lot actually. 

I believe these are called Cow Parsnip. 

I found a friend! Don't worry I put him/her back in their parsnip patch.

I think this is Bindweed, which resembles morning glories when in bloom. 

And last, asparagus fronds.

I laid everything out on half the cloak, then folded the second half over. It was so pretty and I was sure it would work this time. Then I rolled everything up into a long cylinder and again into a spiral. I tied it off with a synthetic cording and boiled the package in water and alum for 3 hours turning occasionally. Then I let it cool until I could comfortably unwrap it. 

Unfortunately what I gathered this morning and the mordant I used (alum) together seemed to not produce the best results. There was almost no color transfer over the entire cloak, even after boiling for 3 hours and letting cool to the touch. I couldn't even bring myself to take a final picture. 

I did bring the cloak inside and am soaking it overnight in soda ash. Maybe it will help, maybe it wont. I'm also going to try using iron as a mordant next. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Experiment #425, Can I easily* clean belly/nasty wool? And an update . . .

Well, we're done with lambing!! I think. . . 

We added 18 new sheep to our flock last fall, 3 of which are weathers. Which means we have a total of 25 ewes. We knew all of them wouldn't be bred because the new additions are older, some a lot older. However we've only had 4 ewes lamb so far. 3 sets of twins and a single! 7 isn't bad but I think its time to clip our ram and replace him for someone more productive.

Recently we hired someone to come out and shear the flock, mostly because at 6 months pregnant I just can't wrestle them like I did last year. partly because professionals are a lot faster then I am and a bit because the new sheep are quite a bit larger then the Finns and a bit more squirrely. They were not very happy during shearing but were much cooler and obviously more comfortable afterwards. Now I have 32 fleeces to add to the 30+ from last year! I'm going to process some into yarn, some into roving and some into locks. 

Now, onto the experiment!
The one more experienced shearer went ahead and skirted all of the belly and dirty wool. After 32 sheep that's quite a bit of "throw away" wool, it filled 2 - 30 gallon lawn bags. I got to thinking maybe if I could clean it up, I could process it to use as core roving in my needle felting projects. But I also don't want to do a ton of washing, rinsing and carrying of heavy wet wool. I get tired easily these days and its just going to get worse. So this is where the experimenting and the weather come into play. Yes, the weather. I'm going to let the rain wash the majority of the yuck from the wool. 

Ignore my fat finger. As you can see its filthy. It was thrown on the barn floor, walked all over and only picked up as an after thought. Its a mix of Finn, Lincoln and one red Tunnis, in all different colors. The first 2 pictures are of the wool laid out on a make shift skirting table, after its been in a light shower. Unfortunately with as dirty as it is, its going to take a serious rain, or 3, to clean it up enough I'll be willing to send it through my picker. Fortunately for me its supposed to thunderstorm on Wed. So I will have to update you later this week. For now here are some more pictures to tide you over. 

Just a different way to lay out more wool for washing. These baskets have a woven bottom so the dirty water can drain through. I'll set them up on some blocks for better drainage. 

Little lamb getting their head scratched. 

Its very tiring, just being born.