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Stove-top rainbow dyeing
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Stove-top rainbow dyeing
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Note. This is the original project, for the technique using acid dye powder, suitable for dyeing raw (unwashed) fleece.

(For the technique using dye solutions, see this project.)

Instructions for doing the stove-top rainbow-dyeing (using acid dye powder) are written up here

This is a great technique for dyeing raw fleece - no need to wash first or after :)

It uses a lot of dye, but you can dye a heck of a lot of fibre with it, in up to three baths from the same dye. And the colours are really vibrant.

Top 5 pics show the dyeing of the Teeswater lamb’s fleece from sheersheep in the main dye pot, followed by Teeswater tops in the exhaust bath. I haven’t weighed the final fibre (as quite a bit of dirt will have washed out of the T/w locks) but I dyed approx 2 kgs raw, unwashed T/w lamb’s fleece plus 500g T/w tops.

The initial dye application leaves a lot of gaps (1). As the simmering progresses the dye spreads across the pan (2). In this case I added a little bit more turquoise for the exhaust wash (3) and got the most glorious teal. After dyeing, the dyed locks are rinsed - with a bit of extra vinegar because of the turquoise (4). Finally, the dyed fleece and fibre is dried (5). Note the difference in colours in the tops, from what appeared to be a homogenous teal exhaust bath. They range from a very light bluey-grey through pale steely grey to a strong midnight blue. Yum!

I was a little bit rough with the rinsing of the locks and there’s been a small amount of felting - entirely my own fault. :( I have not yet taken the processing further as (a) I want to comb the locks and am just learning to use my new-to-me English combs, and (b) until I have an excellent spinnable fibre I know I will have no chance of spinning these as finely as I want - not to mention that my spinning is improving all the time and I am not quite yet at the standard I want for this beautiful fibre :)

My plan is to spin this in the same way I span the previously stove-top rainbow-dyed raw Charollais cross fleece (6). This was the outcome of two dyeing sessions, in one of which the exhaust bath was greeny and in the other it was purpley. I prepped rolags of exhaust green and purple seperately, and rolags of predominantly blue, red, green and yellow from the main dye baths. One single was spun from the exhaust rolags, I selected the next rolag randomly from the pile of green and purple fibre. The other single was spun in a much more structured way; I deliberately span the four colours sequentially so that I could see how much yarn I got from one rolag, and how that translated into stripes.

The resultant yarn exceeded my wildest expectations :) I loved it so much I didn’t start to knit it up for several weeks, as it needed to be looked and admired just as it was :)

When I came to knit it, I loved seeing the variegation in the plied yarn so much, I had to stop knitting at night so that I could enjoy the yarn in daylight :)

Final pic is the FO from the Charollais fibre - a self-striped hat. You can see more in the project here.

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About this pattern
Personal pattern (not in Ravelry)
  • Project created: February 19, 2013
  • In progress: February 19, 2013
  • Updated: September 15, 2013