Sunday, May 8, 2011

Shades Of Red

There is nothing quite like making something for someone you know so I was delighted to be able to make this scarf for the sister of a friend. I had only the criteria of colour and fibre to go. Since the colour was to be red (who said there aren't a million shades of red) I thought that the recipient have some input . Janice lives in the United States and since Kool Aid is not only readily available there but is also much favoured for dyeing yarn  I asked that she could provide some packets for this process bearing in mind that there are various flavours of red.
I soaked some spun yarn for a short while in a mild detergent solution before adding the concentrated Kool Aid solution. The wool and angora had the cherry flavour added while the alpaca had the wild cheery added. At the same time I over dyed some wool with cochineal to give it more depth of colour since it seemed a little washed out.
Ready for the dye solution
Dark Cherry solution for the alpaca yarn


Fortunately the kitchen sink is stainless steel or there may have been some problems with the Kool Aid staining the sink a bright red. Rubber gloves saved the hands when handling the concentrated Kool Aid packets.




It didn't take long to dye the fibre in the microwave which is dedicated for non food use - either dyeing fibre or drying wood when Ray has a piece which hasn't had enough time to dry out properly before turning it and it fits into this fairly large microwave.

When all the dye has been taken up, the jars are removed and left to cool completely before receiving their final rinse and being left out to dry suspended from the clothes line.


The wool and angora fibre looks as though it has absorbed the dye liquid well but when removed from the glass jar some of the fibre remained white. This gave a slightly mottled effect but probably resulted from having the fibre too crowded in the jar.

A nice breeze meant that drying took very little time.

An old two shaft loom threaded up for weaving
All seven skeins of red yarn used in the scarf
Dyed mohair spun on a bottom whorl drop spindle made by Ray.
The loom is threaded up with random warp threads from the skeins spun. In no particular order they consist of Silk, Mohair, Wool combined with malamute, Wool combined with angora, Alpaca and Camel.The weft yarn is the wool that was over dyed with the cochineal. The loom here is set up without a reed which felt very odd to use as usually the reed is used to beat the work down but in this case the reed was too fine for some of the threads and would have worn them down to almost nothing causing breakages.
 A wide toothed comb was used to beat the weft down. The finished product was fulled in the washing machine for a few minutes then hung out to dry.

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