Saturday, October 20, 2012

Dyeing fiber with real acid dyes

After my recent foray into dying yarn with food coloring, I decided to take a yarn dyeing class with acid dyes at the Eugene Textile Center.  I can't believe I've never been to this place!  They have a large dyeing kitchen and tons of spinning wheels and looms.  I don't spin or weave but if I did, this is where I'd go.

By the way, if you're thinking, eek, acid dyes!  Acids!  Don't worry, it's not acid you see in the movies that eats through your glove, then your fingers and now you're stuck in a contaminated room that bursts into a billion degree fire just to clean up the contaminates that could kill all of earthkind. Nope, it's vinegar.  Sure, there's some chemicals involved and you should still use gloves, but it's not the mad scientist kind of thing.  Or is it? Hm.

I didn't take many photos or any notes because I was too excited and thrilled to be in an artsy atmosphere.  It made me feel like my old self again.  I'm thinking maybe I should start tapping into that.  Anyway, Janis gave us several fibers; some silk, yarn, roving, some sort of animal somethingorother, we picked a color, put it in a kettle and then on the burner for a while. That's the short version.

Roving, fabric, silk and some other stuff

This is how mine turned out. The point of this experiment was to show us how each type of fiber takes up dye differently.  For example, the silk (as seen in the middle with a kind of seafoam coloration) didn't get to soak up as much dye as everything else.

The yarn turned out darker because it was a natural brown to begin with and the silk has a tinge of green because it was cream colored.  I'm sure the fact that the starting color affects the end color is a no-brainer but it's still interesting to see the end results for ourselves.

Everyone at my table chose similar colors

Everyone at my table chose some sort of blue.  We didn't realize that until we spread them all out.

Yarn, silk, and various rovings drying in the sun

Our roving and yarn spread out to dry. After a few minutes on the spin cycle in the washing machine, it only took about 5 minutes for it to dry in the sun.

Next we got two different types of roving and some sort of yarn. I'm pretty vague about these because I know nothing about roving and because this yarn didn't come with a label on it, I'm totally out of my element. I just now it came from a sheep.

Our yarn and roving drying

Those are my three in the front on the right. My roving turned out darker than I expected, probably because I was a bit heavy on the dye. Interesting note, all our fibers were heat set in the same pot together and yet nothing was contaminated by another dye!

Dyed yarn and roving

Anyway, this is how it turned out.  It was fun and I'm glad I took the class.  I don't want to spill the details on how we dyed everything because I'd like to encourage you to take the class. The Eugene Textile Center is a great place and deserves your business.

As always, the arts are the first to go when there are financial troubles and we all know how the economy is going.  If you're not in the Eugene area, check out your community and see what type of opportunities you  might have to support a local artisan.  If you're not into dyeing, I'm sure there's something out there you would enjoy.

And now I must go as there is a bit of a cat poop situation brewing.

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