Friday, September 4, 2009

Dyeing Suri

I have neglected this blog. Anyway, the bright colors here inspired me to share them. Here is my new experiment.

Previous to today, I have dyed twice. First with food color, 2nd with a professional dye but I think I have improved on it. That is to say that I am trying to have more slightly consistent results.

I start by washing my raw fleece. I might have done well to get some synthropol, a special detergent. Instead I am using dish detergent.

I weighed out 6 ounces of raw fleece, stuffed it into a one quart mason jar with some water and soap. This I did 4 times thus filling 4 jars. It helps for the fleece to soak.
This second picture shows raw fleece soaking on the left and washed fiber on the right. I started with the fleece of an alpaca named Nikki who had both white and fawn fiber, which I mixed to see how it would take the dye. That ran out so I rummaged through my stash and found one fawn fleece and one white fleece. For consistency I decided to continue the roughly half fawn half white fiber mix.

The fawn fleece is a bit cotty, that is it was showing its felting tendencies. I separated the fibers sorta like 'pulled pork' to mix them up a bit and also so that they take more dye. This I did during the washing process.
I did not separate the fibers yesterday and it shows, though it's sorta cool how parts got dyed deeply and others barely. I also put the washed fiber in the jar then added the dye yesterday. This also meant it got more unevenly distributed. This time I layered concentrated dye with fiber, topping it with water and some extra dye. Considering how packed these jars are, I still won't get even results but that's ok.
Here's my bright jars in the pot. I tried to keep the temperature above 100f but below 140f. I left them in there for several hours. I understand that alpaca does not usually take dye as well as sheepwool.
I'll post my varied results later. This was kinda tedious but fun.
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