Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cochineal Dyeing Gone Crazy

I have a customer order for cochineal dyed red silk stockings. I dyed the silk yarn a couple of weeks ago. I had tied the silk with wool. The wool shrunk and kept the dye from dyeing under the ties. So, when I knit the stockings, there were "white" spots throughout. Then when I measured them, they were too small. So, I unraveled both stockings and knit them again. Now, I believe the feet are too big. And, it didn't help with the white "speckling". So, I figured that I would redye them with more cochineal. It helped, but didn't remove the white totally. And now, for some reason, there are black spots. Not sure how my customer is going to take all the imperfections. But, what can one expect with using natural dyes?

There was so much dye left in the pot, that I decided to do some playing around. I threw in two skeins of sock yarn, two skeins of silk, and tried some multiple coloring with two skeins of lace wool.
The silk is on the left and the fingering weight wool on the right.
And, here is my first attempt at multi-colored yarn. Crazy?

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Cochineal Silk

With the return of good weather, I was able to do some dying. Today, it was silk in cochineal. This yarn is for a special order of stockings. It is beautiful.

Let's start with what the yarn used to look like.

And then look at what the dye bath looked like. I used recipe #118 (pink - crimson recipes for animal fibers) in Gwen Fereday's book Natural Dyes. I love this book. Her recipes are always easily understood and I get consistent colors from dye bath to dye bath. It is nice to be able to see the color you want and then to make it.

And, the final picture is one of the finished yarn hanging outside drying.

There was so much red still left in the dye bath so I threw in 300g of wool after the silk was done. It should be ready to take out of the bath when i get back from grocery shopping.
Now to make the stockings.