Saturday, June 16, 2007

Spin Journal #5: Cooking Up Something Wild

This experiment is entirely due to an off-hand comment by Randall Hayden of Hayden Looms. He compared types of wool processing before spinning to cake baking: if purchased roving is your basic cake mix, while hand-processing is baking from scratch.

"Cake" got me thinking about food, and dyes, and what can I do that's fun with fiber I'm not overly concerned about. Idea! Dye parts of the remaining batt of Romney with Kool-Aid, spin and ply them with a bobbin of white Romney already spun, then overdye the entire mess with yet another color.

The white Romney (approximately 2 ounces) was spun this afternoon. The other batt, which weighed just over 2 ounces, was split in half lengthwise. I decided to go with Cherry (red) and Lemonade (yellow) Kool-Aid for the first dyes--when overdyed with Ice Blue Lemonade (blue) Kool-Aid, I should end up with a finished yarn that is 50% blue, 25% purple, and 25% green, with a color twist.

To make the dyebath for each of the batts, I dissolved 2 packets of the appropriate flavor/color Kool-Aid with hot water in a stainless steel pot with a tight-fitting lid, then added 1/3 cup white vinegar to make the dyebath acidic. Then I submerged the batt in the dyebath, gently pushing it down under the water, but not agitating it any more than necessary. I lidded the pot and put it in a 210-degree oven for 1 hour (and found out the "Cooking Time" feature on my oven works), then left the pots in the oven overnight to slowly cool.