Friday, July 11, 2008

Superwash merino gets auf'd

Hey blogland people!

One week until glorious 2-week holiday. I haven't had an actual vacation since last August. I think my colleagues are lucky their heads are still attached to their bodies cause there. are. days.

Anyway - I'm wrapping up next to nothing at work. The new positon started on June 30 and has exactly keeping me busy. I am hoping this is a combination of a) client not used to having a comms person and b) everyone is away anyhow. I am looking to hire someone anyway so we can start building bridges and I can get someone to inventory the web site and start looking at where we need to update "stuff".

So that's work. Better stuff ahead!


The Casbah sock is motoring along on the two circs - one is finished and I am about to turn the heel on the second. Terrific bus knitting and with the kids away at their dads all week there has been a lot of downtown and bus riding!

The whirly stuff

Its Tour de Fleece so there has been a fair amount of spinning. I am working on spinning laceweight from a gorgeous bit of Fleece Artist BFL in bright purples, pinks, greens and blues. It is taking FOREVER. Still I have to get moving - I am part of the Hush-hush Handspun Hootenany swap and need to send my pal 4 oz unspun (NOT a and 4 oz spun up (somewhat more challenging) in time to mail out in early August.

Dyeing crap...literally

Last night I was pretty much convinced that my dyeing mojo was gone. Dye was running off the roving or striking so fast I wasn't able to get it to spread through. Colours were splitting into their primaries.

The problem? superwash merino roving. The merino is not the problem...its the chemical process they put the wool through to make it unfeltable. Apparently in stripping off the little "teeth" that make wool felt they also altered the wool in some way that makes dyeing consistently nearly impossible. Let me show you what I mean:

That's the SAME colour on the left and right. The left - a pale violet - is on BFL roving...the right is the superwash merino. You can see how the colours I mixed split out into blue and red.

Here's more:

Again - same colour - I was aiming for a pale fuschia. The top is the superwash and you can see that the dye struck so quickly that I wasn't able to get it to spread through the wool. The bottom is way more accurate.

So if you are wondering if I dye superwash...the answer is NO. Auf Wiedersehen Superwash Merino!

I am in the midst of a colour study and have tons of 1 oz bits to dye up which I will strip down and spin up together in various combinations to see how the colours work together. The aim is to better understand colour, but also become more comfortable with colours that are not in my usual palette - like olive greens, browns and other colours that are best described as icky in my mind (but nirvana for others).

Last word...

Heaven. In a frozen container. I'm just saying that putting two perfect foods together is better than perfection.


Marie said...

Your dyes are gorgeous. It's a shame the Superwash didn't take them well. I wonder if you could just use it for blending. I always love to see a bit of undyed wool in an otherwise saturated color.

Lisa said...

Hi Marie -

I agree they might be useful for blending and I have hackles coming soon so I can play around with the colours. I'm just SO irritated that I can barely stand to look at it right now.

bockstark.knits said...

Bummer... :(

The funny thing is that I *like* the sw roving in the pics above!!! :)

Lisa said...

That style of dyeing can really make for interesting spinning too...especially a bit of white.

Chriss said...

It looks, my dear, like we are experiencing the same exercise in colour! Only mine is on a much larger scale than 1oz samples.

I had read that superwash was a pain to dye and so decided early on to forgo that torture. Now I'm really glad I did.

BTW my carder is available anytime esp. if you bring your hackles along :)

Jeanne said...

I relaly love hearing about how you dye and the challenges you have....OMG - that ice cream is amazing!