Experiments with acid dyes and spinning

17 Sept 2015

I’ve been developing my dyeing techniques using acid dyes on wool (both hand spun and as fleece before spinning).

The examples above are fleece wool which I spun into a lumpy yarn, then dyed in a pot. The method involved first soaking the wool in vinegar solution overnight. The wool is then heated in the dye bath and when at a low simmer, dye powder is sprinkled into the dye bath. The dye pot is kept at simmering temperature for about 20 minutes, during which time it is not stirred. Some of the colours mix, but others stay as separate.

A check is then done to see if the dye bath has been exhausted (if so it will be clear). If not, more vinegar is added and the dye pot is heated for another 20 minutes. After the dyeing procedure, the bath is left to cool, then the wool is removed and rinsed in water. There should be no dye in the rinsing water (it should all have been absorbed and fixed into the yarn!) On most occasions this was true. Sometimes, however, I could not get an exhausted dye bath dispite adding more vinegar and had to conclude that too much dye powder had been used. The photo below shows an exhausted dye pot – the water around the dyed yarn is clear.

The example below shows some coil spinning which I subsequently dyed using a direct dye method (hand-painting).

After soaking in vinegar solution, I took the yarn, tied it is skeins then laid it on some clingfilm. I painted on a dye solution using a paintbrush. I let the colours blend, and tried to get rid of all the white (un-dyed areas). I then “fixed” the dye by heating in a microwave. The finished yarn is shown below:

I also used the same method to dye fleece before spinning see below centre and right (the left skein is naturally dyed).

Below is an example of some hand-painted yarn spun and Navajo piled after dyeing. I intentionally created a “marled” effect.

I hope to be able to use these yarns and fibres for spinning, weaving and making textured knitted and crocheted fabrics. They are a valuable addition to my visual vocabulary for the OCA textiles degree.




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