Sunday, April 13, 2008

Am I Blue?

So, I wanted blue roving for blue yarn for the handspun sweater that I am going to knit someday when I can knit for fun again, and I didn't want to buy blue roving (in part because I already have a room full of wool and roving, and also because I would have to wait for it to arrive and Impatience is my middle name- you can look it up).
I found a bag of soft white mystery roving (which wasn't such a mystery once I noticed the little sticker on the bottom of the bag that said: Louet Corriedale Top, though I have no idea where it came from, so it's still a mystery), and I dug out the dye (Gaywool Iceberg, Country Classics Blue Spruce, and later a bit of Wild Iris and China Jade), and the tools. Note the fancy countertop protection and measuring devices.

I heated up the water in a big old pot (just for dyeing: Do not use dye equipment for food prep- ever), added 1 1/2 cups white vinegar, and 2 tsps of Gaywool Iceberg dye (remembering after the fact that Gaywool doesn't need vinegar), brought it to a steamy almost-simmer, and then immersed 3.5 ozs of dry Corrie roving into the water. I left the roving dry because I want uneven dyeing, and a slightly mottled yarn. The dye struck almost immediately (what with double the amount of acid, I guess), and so I only needed to heat (not exactly a simmer, but it was steaming) the roving for about 15 minutes before shutting it off to let it cool. The dye didn't exhaust but the roving did rinse clear.

Then I added 2 tsp of Country Classics Blue Spruce dye to the pot and added another about 3 ozs (didn't measure carefully) of dry wool to the pot and let it heat for about 45 minutes. I decided it wasn't quite the right blue, so I added 1/2 tsp of Wild Iris dye (powder) to one side of the pot, and 1/2 tsp of China Jade to the other side. I did very gently stir the water where I added the powder, but I didn't stir the wool. Then I let it stew and steam for another 20 minutes or so before turning it off.

I managed not to compact or felt either roving, which pleased me. The Iceberg is a very nice pale blue (not pastel). The darker blue is a bit more greeny than I expected, but it'll come out a lovely dark blue green when spun, I think.

I'll get a nice skein of each, which is all I need for blue (along with the one hunk of blue roving that I did have on hand) in the future sweater. You might notice that I am mixing and matching wool breeds- Romney, Corrie, Merino- the only fibers I'm excluding are those that halo (mohair, angora, alpaca). Everything is spun pretty tight and Stranded work isn't really elastic anyway, so I should be able to mix and match without hurting the sweater fabric.


joannamauselina said...

That is amazing! Being a non-dyer, non-spinner, it is interesting to see how it all happens. I am so impressed and am looking forward to the finshed sweater. Joanna

Leigh said...

What a gorgeous array of blues! Very yummy.