2 days ago
I knit my first pair of indigo dyed socks.
I dyed a skein in the Indigo Ferrous vat I made for the natural dye course I'm taking. This vat isn't recommended by many/most because iron is hard on wool, but I had the leftover vat and all I dye is wool so I decided to give it a shot and see what happened. I knit them in my size and will wear them to see how they wear.
My skein is 75/25 wool/nylon, wound into an extra long skein. I dipped the entire skein in the vat for a few minutes. Then I rinsed it and dipped only one half of the skein back in for three more dip/rinse cycles.
Winding the skein into a cake for knitting was quite a b*gger!
I found the yarn a little stiff on the CSM and backed off my tension a wee bit to accommodate. (I sometimes have to do the same with really deep blue/red/black acid dyes as well.)
After knit/wash/block I can't say that the yarn feels harsh, or different. The stiffness knitting may mean the elasticity was reduced but I can't say that I've notice that.
I have other socks in my closet dyed with same yarn in washfast acid dyes, so I'll see, anecdotally, how the wear compares.
I knit the leftover yarn from this skein into a tube and have placed it in a sunny window, half covered, so I can see, after several months, how the lightfastness is. And the covered portion from the sun will give me something to compare the wash fastness of the socks. ... See MoreSee Less
2 weeks ago
This is an experiment to first dye a colour, then modify the colour by dipping in a solution with either Citric Acid (an acid), or Soda Ash (a base) or Iron (a metal - ferrous sulfate).
The first column in each pic is the initial dye done on 4 different fibre types.
In first pic the dye bath was made from ground Weld for yellows, and the second pic using ground Madder roots for the reds.
I'm, of course, particularly pleased with the variety of colours obtained on the wool samples. My biggest surprise is that the citric acid virtually stripped the colour right out of the yellow samples. ... See MoreSee Less
The current Barn Cat family. White one at back is (probably) father. He is ancient, scrawny, missing bunch of teeth. Has hunted on the farm for years but only last year or so retired to the barn for easier meals.
Dark one at front in mama and the others are either what survived her last litter, or maybe she had a small litter.
There was another black female that was full time inside the barn that I haven't seen for about a year - last time I saw her she was heading out into one of the pastures, which was rare for her as I had never seen her out of the barn yard.
There's also a calico female that used to pretty much hang in the barn or hunt around the gardens - lately she's been about half time.
The cats are feral even though they know me and don't run, at least at meal time. They are all good hunters. The female cats usually relocate their young once they are capable of hunting on their own. The mama in the pic has disappeared with the kittens several times for a few days at a pop. Then she returns on her own. But each time the kittens have found their way back a few days later, which is out of the ordinary. ... See MoreSee Less
Experimenting with different types of indigo vats. The three skeins are all 70/30 wool/mohair fingering sock yarn, the wool being from my Sheltland/Cormo wether Beauregard, spun by Wellington Fibres after blending with mohair from their flock.
The skein on the left - done in a Ferrous Sulfate vat gave me the colour I wanted. This vat is not recommended for wool as iron is hard on wool fibres. Of course you can't tell me anything without that I have to try it myself an see. I'm hoping that the short exposure in the vat (1 minute dips, 4 times with rinsing between) gives me an acceptable result. So far I don't feel a harshness in the fibre - with my rough skinned farmer hands - but what I'll do is knit myself a pair of socks and see if I can detect any weakness in the yarn, and see how it wears compared to other Beauregard socks in my closet.
The two skeins on the right - done in a Ground Madder Root and Lime base. I learned of this base in the course I'm taking, and the 'Cons' of this base included describing it as difficult to balance, which I will confirm. The far right skein was dipped in the initial making of the vat first, followed by the middle skein, which you can see is even paler than the one on far right. I tried tweaking the vat to alter the pH a little and re-dipped only the middle skein which gave little, if any, addition of colour. My vat included enough indigo powder to dye 1.5 lbs of yarn, so absence of dye can't be the problem.
I'm going to fiddle with the vat pH some more so see if I can improve the result. ... See MoreSee Less