Thursday, January 3, 2008

I Do ♥ to Dye

I'm back in the dye pot! Yea! I want to do a batch or two a day until I get enough ahead that I feel I can list some in my Etsy shop and start spinning some. It's so much fun to spin this dyed fiber. This batch is 4.4 ounces which is very strange because I very carefully weighed out two 2 ounce bundles before I started. Everything seems to be putting on weight around this house.

For those interested in how I'm dyeing this alpaca roving - the rest of you just skip this paragraph - I'm soaking the roving in warm vinegar water for about half an hour. Then I add a wet layer (no, I'm not spinning it out) round and round in my crock pot. I use a popsicle stick to add just a titch of the dye powder on top of the wet roving. Then I carefully pour boiling water from my tea kettle over the roving and dye powder. I gently poke the dye with a big plastic spoon to get it to spread a little. I continue layering about 4 times while keeping the same color on top of the underneath color. I have used only 3 different colors with this method. The crock pot was set on high when I started and I cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. Then the hard part - unplug and leave alone to cool...... I try to handle the dyed roving very gently while rinsing and spinning out in my washing machine. I'm pretty pleased with this method because the fiber is hardly felting at all.

I'm all concerned about running out of fiber so have been on line searching for two days now. So far I have ordered a medium fawn blanket that took a blue ribbon at a show, and some black from a herd sire. I have so many connections going right now that I'm confusing myself. I found a farm that will sell me some white roving for a very reasonable price. These folks have all agreed to send me pictures of the alpacas so that I can show them with the fiber that will be for sale. I would still like to find some nice white.

I've ordered 5 pounds of McMurray's awesome white merino to blend with my alpaca after we shear. I've decided that the only fibers worthy of blending into the alpaca are really good merino and silk. Having said that, I do think some of Edie's mohair from Spinning Moon Farm will make it into our rovings.