Sometime ago (May 2014 in fact) the group I’m part of came up with a blend of fibres to see what we each would do with it. We blended Polworth, Camel and Seacell together (well, World of Wool did the blending for us, but we chose the fibres that went into it). I’ve eventually got around to dyeing my 200g in my new slow cooker with “black” food dye.
As you can see the dye didn’t create black (I would have been disappointed if it had). Instead it’s split, allowing some of the component colours to be taken up by the fibre at different rates. So, though there are areas of black, the fibre is predominately greeny-blue and dusky-purple. The seacell, being a cellulose fibre has also remained undyed.
The fibre has become very flouncy (erm, that’s fluffy and bouncy in my head) and I’m looking forward to spinning it. I’ll either spin a two-ply or a four-ply (possibly cabled), though I’ll see how the singles spin up before I commit to anything. I think this is heading in the direction of something lacy and shawl like.
It’s been cold and frosty this week, as the frost on this primrose shows (taken after a cold walk to drop youngest off at school):
Five times in total! The fifth batch is currently cooling down. I’m finding that the colours are easy to use (and not at all messy) and that the convenience of having a dedicated pot for dyeing means that I’m enjoying dyeing again.
I was worried when I realised how hot the slow-cooker was getting that it was an inefficient way to dye. However, a little maths (using the Tariff Transfer Rate published by my electricity supplier – which I’m assuming adds an element of cost for the standing charge) reveals that the slow cooker will be costing 7p to run on high for the two hours I’m finding that it needs. I feel that this is acceptable and probably cheaper than dyeing in the oven (this article confirms that the oven would be more expensive). I’ve no idea how the costs compare with steaming fibre on the hob.
All these are dyed on Shetland. Currently cooking is the “Creating Space” blend we created a couple of years ago. I think it may be Polworth, Camel and Seacell (but I need to look it up).
Slow but steady progress is being made on settling into our new house. A few days ago I sorted out and hung up most of my pictures (all the ones that don’t need unusually robust wall fixings, so could be done without the drill). Mostly I was sensible and hung pictures up in traditional styles:
(A clock has now appeared next to these pictures.)
(I really love this, and think it should, perhaps, be in a more prominent position than in the kitchen.)
I was less restrained by the stairs:
After hanging the first three pictures my son commented that they looked odd hung so close together. However, I proceeded with my plan – more or less. This is what I’d “planned” the night before:
This evening I started my first dyeing experiment in our new house! A few days ago I spotted a crock-pot for sale in our local garden centre. I came home and thought about it and today went and bought two – one for cooking and one for dyeing. And once home I couldn’t wait to get started:
I’m also trying out some new food colours for dyeing. These are Violet, Orange and Raspberry by Colour Splash. They are food colour gels, but they come in tubes, which I thought may be more convenient to use:
After a couple of hours the Shetland had absorbed most of the colour:
I popped the lid back on and left it running for ten more minutes before turning it off. I’ll leave it to cool down until the morning. The crock is quite deep and the dye was added after the wool had been soaking for a while, so I don’t know how far the colour has penetrated, and whether there will be white or paler areas. In the morning I shall know!