Saturday, 6 June 2009

Saturday morning dyeing - the process

Dye stock solution, measured out and waiting to be diluted. I do two lots of 200g fibre at once - the stuff in the jugs is the first lot; once that's used I transfer the stuff in the little plastic glasses to the jugs and use that.

Soaked and spun out fibre (in this case superfine merino) waiting in its fishkettle, with dye solution ready to be poured on. This is the second lot of the day, so the water's already been through one dyeing session and is just off boiling.

Fishkettles full of fibre and dye and sitting on the hob, simmering away. The first lot always takes longer as the water is cold to start off with. This won't be long at all.

Kettle lids on and a dyeing towel over the top to provide a small amount of insulation. Have to be careful here after I was dyeing in a hurry, had the rings on full (usually only on lowest setting) and set the towel on fire when I wasn't in the kitchen. The burning towel then set the wheelie bin outside on fire. Not a good morning.

When I say I dye to exhaustion, I do mean it. This is the water being spun from the first lot of the day, and as you can see it's practically clear. It means I can use the same water again and again, using less energy as it needs less heating up, and less vinegar/citric acid as it is only slowly drawn from the water by the fibre.

The first lot of today's fibre (this is Solstice, and is darker than it looks) hanging up to dry. This is the old Landrover's dog rack balanced between the bookshelves and the stairs - it makes a good drying frame, even in today's cold and miserable weather. When it's full I'll start using the creel in the sitting room, as I'm up to date with laundry.

Stuff to pack up this morning, if I have enough labels. There's rather a lot here, and vast amounts more on the storage shelves in my bedroom. But I still don't have enough for Woolfest, I think.

I've just started on the 10K bump of superfine merino, and need to pop up to Adelaide Walker's in Otley next week for camel/silk (I've at least one order for this stuff in golds) and some more coloured BFL. And, if I've enough money left after this, some of their lovely, lovely merino /silk. This dyes to incredible metallic colours, but as it's an expensive fibre it's even more expensive when I've dyed it up.

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