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Discussion Starter #1
To make variegated dyed roving like those pictured, you will need: Stainless steel or enamel dyepot (mine is a 16 quart ss stockpot), soaking pot (mine is a 20 qt ss stockpot), wood spoon, Gaywool dyes (Brand used here)

Safety first: Work in a well ventilated area, use utensils and pots designated for dyeing only. Although I use my kitchen, I don't do any cooking while I am dyeing. I use my bathroom sink to do any rinsing, not the kitchen sink.

I happen to use Gaywool dyes. They are readily available online. Luckily, a woman in my spinning group is a dealer. (She's bringing me some tonight)

Bear in mind that this is how I do it to get the variegated fiber pictured in the other thread. It is usually an experiment that cannot be duplicated, because I don't weigh out the dye, or make notes about what colors I used, etc.

Gaywool dyes use a level capful per 4 oz of fiber. I usually measure out 4-6 oz of fiber. I am using an alpaca/merino blend in a roving. Wrap it around your hand (loosely) in a wheel, as opposed to a ball.



Fill your soaking pot (or sink, whatever you're using) with hot water and a dollop of dishwashing liquid. Carefully place your wheel of fiber in the pot, and push down slowly until the fiber is under the water.



Let soak for a minimum of 15 minutes. You want the fiber well wetted so it will readily take up the dye.

Now carefully remove the fiber from the soaking pot, and place it in the dyepot, trying to keep it in the wheel as much as possible. Pour hot water down the side of the dyepot, until it is about 3/4 up the side of the fiber. You want some fiber not under water.

 

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Turn the heat on high, and let the water come to almost a boil. You don't really want it to actually boil, as it could felt the fiber.

When you have reached an almost boil, sprinkle your dye powder over the top, randomly, or in a pattern you prefer. Here I used the colors Indigo, Lucerne Green, and a bit of Honeycomb.



Using the wood spoon, poke the fiber under the water.



If the temperature is right, the dye will strike (adhere to the fiber) immediately. That is how I got the green and yellow one in the other thread, the dye stuck so quickly that it didn't get to all the fiber, thus the white areas. Also maybe I had wound it too tightly! If you want more blending, stir the fiber slightly. Or, in this case, the water probably wasn't quite warm enough, so the dyes struck in some places, not in others, and the colors blended a bit. Happy accidents! Now just let it sit and cook for 30 minutes. Go read Homesteading Today to keep your mind off it and to resist the temptation to stir a lot!



The fiber will look much darker in the pot than it really is. It is easy to forget that.

Fill your (not kitchen) sink (or the washing machine) with enough warm water to cover the fiber. Fish it out of the dyepot with the spoon, and place it in the water. Swish around a bit to rinse, but be careful not to agitate too much or you might have felt.



I then use the washing machine to spin out the extra water. In this example, I used too much dye, so the dyepot still had dye in it. I used it, as you will see later.
 

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Since it also probably wasn't hot enough, the dye mingled. And the fiber that was on the bottom of the pot got more dye than the top. See?



This is the bottom.



This is the top.

Wind the roving into a skein, and hang to dry.





That is the final result.

As a bonus, I used the dye that was still in the dyepot. I added a bit of water, 5 oz of alpaca/targhee blend roving, and sprinkled more Honeycomb and a touch of Lucerne. In this picture, you can see the slight blueish color around the sides. That was the dye that hadn't exhausted in the above roving.



This was the result.



Two rovings for the price of one!

In the other thread, somebody had asked if the resulting yarn would be variegated as well. Generally, yes. It will certainly be multicolored. You have a lot of control over the resulting yarn by how you spin it, and how you ply it. I like to just spin as is, and then ply on itself, and see what happens. The Twisted Sisters Sock book has a really good explanation of the different effects that can be achieved.

Any questions?
 

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Annie thank you for doing this.

Your fibers turned out beautiful! I like the idea of powered dye since it would be more inclined to stay where you put it. Or at least that seems logical.

Where do you order your dyes from?
 

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Yes, Red you can. You can even dye store bought yarn.

If we get too many stickies no one sees them after a while. I think if it floats up and down the forum people will be more inclined to notice the thread. We can keep it bumped up too. I'll see if I can add the link to the thread with the other tutorial type threads in it. That thread remains a sticky.
 

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*sigh* Told husband today that you girls were doing all this really cool dyeing and I hadn't dyed anything in sooooooo long .......... Maybe it's time to use that bag of onion skins I've been saving back and see about ordering some commercial dye (now that's a change for me, but you gals have such beeuuuuuutiful results!). I'm going to try Annie's instructions and see what happens.
 

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Falcon will you post pictures and maybe do a little tutorial for the onion skin dying? What will you use as a mordant?
 

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Ummmmm, I guess I could try to remember to do pics and all. Usually it's like cooking a dish you've made hundreds of times before - you just do it and don't think about the how of it.

For mordant, I used to use vinegar but that isn't a 'true' mordant even though it does work. I have some alum that I think I'll use to try and get a saffron-ish color.
 

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Sounds pretty! Please try to post pictures. These tutorial are so great for all of us to learn from.
 

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I too had forgotten about this. Annie did sucha great job of documenting every step too.
 
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