Still no spinning wheel. I’m hoping today is the day.
On Saturday, to keep myself busy and my mind off of “Whyfore NO WHEEL?” I dyed up some of the gray Swalesdale fiber I ordered at the same time as the wheel. *ahem* Focusing on not being bitter.
It’s a simple but time consuming process.
Here we have the dry roving on the left, and the 20 minute room-temperature soak on the right.
Gloves really are essential, even with food safe dyes. For roughly 3oz of fiber, I mixed up about 1/2 tsp of Wilton’s icing dye in a cup of hot water. The amount of water isn’t really important, you need enough to cover the fiber, but not so much that it moves around and starts to felt. Pour the dye solution into a pot of room-temperature water (the same temperature, roughly, as the soaking fiber.)
This is where it gets interesting. Get the dyepot up to 160F and keep it there for about 10 minutes. This should help the dye get into the fiber really thoroughly.
Then! Add 1/4c vinegar to the dyepot. I like to pour it into a glass of lukewarm or hot water to dilute it a bit so it spreads out into the dyebath better. The color will change almost immediately as the dye starts to stick to the fiber.
Juice it up to 180F and keep it there for about 30 to really tell that fiber who’s boss. I was very successful with the amount of water I had keeping the fiber from twisting when the water could have been at a rolling boil.
Let the fiber cool naturally. You can drain off some of the (now mostly clear) dyebath to speed it up a tad, but anything drastic will make your gorgeous new colored fiber go all felty-felty. Once it’s close to room temperature (you can handle it comfortably with your bare hands) run a sink full of similarly-temperatured water and dunk it to rinse. This gets the vinegar out, even if there’s no more dye.
I did this two more times to get 8oz of dyed fiber. Small batches seem safer to keep the felt demons at bay.
I call the colorway, “Waiting.”
Speaking of which, I need a name for the wheel. “Godot” springs to mind… ha ha. And since she’s a ladybug, I thought about going literal with, “Lady Bug.” But yeah, literal. Maybe, “Spinderella…” Oooo ooo or, “Charlotte!” Any ideas?