Tuesday, January 27, 2009

fleece dyeing

In my present attempt at going from sheep to sweater, I decided to dye the Corriedale fleece that I had in the garage. The color ranged from light gray to dark brown to begin with.

I got out my Lanaset dye starter pack and my new big enamel pot and went to town.

I was aiming for a deep dark brown. I got out the bordeaux, teal green and yellow. Of course I had no recipe and no idea how to get the color that I wanted. Like everything that I do, I winged it. I'm not exactly the sharpest crayon in the box. Do as I say, not as I do. Why?

I had approximately 2 lbs. to dye - that meant (according to the directions) that I needed 4 tsps. of dye. I grabbed the bordeaux first and put a tsp of it into a glass jar, then a tsp of the teal. Then I made my first mistake. I thought I was grabbing the yellow, but what did I do? I picked up the bordeaux again and put another tsp in. oops. Now I had to correct my mistake. I added the tsp of yellow that meant to add and then anothe 1/2 tsp more. From that point, I just played mix the colors. There's no way I could ever duplicate what I did. I added some plain red into the mix, a little black and more green.

I didn't think it would ever stop. I wasted quite a bit of my dye, but kept going anyway. (I'm stubborn that way.)

The next disaster to occur was with my candy thermometer that I had planned on using to make sure the whole shebang got to 200 degrees. Yep, it was broken, so I mostly winged that too. I knew that I just needed to keep it from boiling and went from there.

At this point, I was worried that I ruined all my work with this fleece. It had made it through the cleaning process without it felting, but I wasn't so sure it would make it out of this process still usable. But it did!

Of course, it's not the color I intended, but I love it anyway. It's a beautiful rose-brown and once it's carded and spun, will be a lovely brown yarn.

I was so happy until the Youngest said, "Mommy, Look at all dis poop!" He's kinda right, at this point, it does look like that:

But up close, the color gets better:

This weekend probably wasn't the best time to do this. We had the pinewood derby and I was supposed to be preparing for the children's play I'm directing tonight at the Eldest's school. (I'll give you an update on that and a costume tutorial tomorrow.) But it was fun to do anyway. I love being busy with arts and crafts!