Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I only document projects that are gifts

for someone outside my house.  Yesterday I dyed, and effectively, some suri alpaca yellow.  The results are pretty much exactly what I wanted.  I could have taken a million pictures but I didn't.  I'll just list what I have figured out.

  1. raw fleeces need to be picked apart
  2. soaked in water and lots of dawn dish detergent
  3. rinsed a bunch of times
  4. then I fill a washer with enough water to let the fleece float and
  5. let it sit for a while
  6. spin the liquid out
  7. I do this fairly tedious dye mixing ritual.  I use a mason jar to dissolve all the good stuff, citric acid, salt and dye.  I pour off part into my caldron, add water, microwave the jar for 33 second, repeat until the caldron is full.  This is because I have had problems in the past getting the dye completely dissolved.  There probably is a better way but this works for me, for now anyway.  I like there to be enough liquid to let the fiber float freely, not crowded.
  8. turn the heat on low, I prefer it to be lukewarm when I add the fleece
  9. pick apart the fleece AGAIN.  sometimes in washing it starts to get felted... well not felted but tangled up.  I think suri with its long locks may be more susceptible to this than huacaya.
  10. drop the locks into the dye and gently poke them in.  they always float.  I drop them in layer by layer
  11. leave the heat on just high enough to gradually get it hot.  this should take many hours.  I have a laser thermometer gun which is great.  it let me see in an instant what temperature it is and whether it is heating up slowly or fast.  I let my alpaca get to just under a boil.  I understand silk will lose its shine if you let it get too hot.
  12. when it gets hot enough and the dye gets clear, I turn off the heat and let it cool for hours.  this lets it soak up more dye.
there's a few more steps rinsing etc....

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