Fiber-y goodness

It's been a while (again) since I've posted anything and I've got some fun stuff to show! I was lucky enough to get to the Monterey Fleece Auction at the Monterey County Fair (they sell tequila *shots* at the fair, how cool is that!??!) two weekends ago and that kicked me in the butt to start dyeing.

I've been wanting to dye my own stuff for quite some time, and the carding fun during the TDF really got me thinking about it. Finally, what pushed me over the edge was the wonderful fleece I bought at the auction. Nine pounds of Coopworth Romney cross, in a lovely gray. Oh, here's what it looks like:

Isn't it gorgeous? The majority went off to Morro Fleece Works for processing, but I stashed about 1# in a ziplock before heading home. This is post washing and pre-dyeing. Since it's gray, I wanted to try and get some blues and purples for scarves. I dyed the locks using acid dyes in the microwave. I don't think I got the water hot enough, but here's the blue pre-carding, and then the two finished batts:

I was quite surprised at how much the colors muted after carding, but the softness of both is just amazing. Have I mentioned how much I love my drum carder? Love. LOVE.

Anyway, I also had two pounds of merino top just lying around waiting for some love, so I decided to do some quick experimenting with kettle dyeing and hot-pouring. I'm much braver now about really heating the water/wool mixture and I just dove in. All the examples below use 4oz. of roving, so I've still got a pound of un-dyed roving leftover. The kettle dyeing was simple - just dump the dye in the bath along with the wool, then heat to set. For the hot pour, I heated the wool and bath *first*, then added the dye.

While I didn't take pictures of the kettle dyeing (too simple, I guess), I did try and document the hot pour. First experiment was with a blue mixture. I used a syringe to squirt the dye on half the roving:

Once that was done, and the dye started to settle, I carefully turned the roving over in the bath to distribute the remaining pigment:

For the green, I first added some water to my dye solution so that it would be less concentrated. Then, I poured more equally across the top of the fiber:

Again, once the dye pushed through and settled, I turned the fiber to better distribute the remaining dyestock

In both cases, I let the fiber cool completely in the dyebath and the dye was fully exhausted. Then, I picked the rovings out of the dyebaths, rinsed under luke-warm tap water, squeezed out as much water as I could, gave it a whiz in a garment bacg ala Alden Amos and then left to dry overnight. Results of the whole shebang look like this:

Again, the blue and green were hot-pour and the orange and yellow were kettle dyed.

All four of them are just *lovely*. The yellow is so wonderfully bright and makes me smile whenever I see it. I'm really in love with the blue - there are these great bits of blue/green in the darker areas and it's all pretty close to what I wanted. I'm going to try one more hot-pour experiment with an intent of getting more colors into the mix. I think I need less water in the bath overall (the wool floated too high) and to not rush the dye getting into the undyed spots. Regardless, I'm definitely on my way!

Oh, and in case you've not figured this out, the next color is in the reds/magentas. That part is missing from my color wheel.

Spinning soon!!! I need a happy, yellow scarf to chase away the winter chill. It is summer in San Francisco, after all.