Saturday, November 21, 2015

Brazilwood Dyeing

This was the first time I've used Brazilwood in quite some time and certainly the first time with this much variation in preparation and handling the pot. First I soaked the Brazilwood sawdust (3 oz) overnight in a nylon stocking to contain the chips/sawdust; then I boiled it for 1 hour. Then I added pickling lime, i.e. calcium hydroxide (about 1/2 oz), plus a stick of ground up chalk to a pot of hot water, and then the dye liquor and bag of chips. The pH at this point was close to 9.0. A mix of fibers was added (mostly wool), some of which had been pre-mordanted with alum or copper. Then the bath sat for about a month prior to being acidified with citric acid; interestingly I had no problems with mold growing in the pot during the month it sat idle. I did take the precaution of removing the bag of Brazilwood chips and letting it dry out after we had finished with the first basic pot, and then put it back in the pot just prior to acidifying the pot. The pH just prior to acidifying the pot was about neutral and after the addition of citric acid (~2 oz) it went to about pH 5. Below is a picture of the resulting wool yarns. From left to right, it is alum and copper pre-mordant with basic 1st pot, then alum and copper pre-mordant in the acidified 2nd pot. The two things that are most striking to me are the range of color and that their is very little apparent difference between the alum and copper pre-mordant yarns.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Frogging Happy

I truly love bulky yarn and have had a wonderful time dyeing and then knitting and crocheting two projects out of some super bulky yarn that I purchased from Heelside Farms in Four Oaks, NC. The first project was my second knitted hat in the Collapsible Cloche pattern which can be seen on my Ravelry projects page. This was supposed to be for me and ended up being for Gary because it fits and is convenient to grab and wear on cold winter mornings out taking care of critters. Since I had plenty of yarn left for another hat this seemed like it would work out just fine. Having decided I wanted a crocheted tam, I found a pattern that seemed ideal - Super Bulky Tam by Candice Veazey. The only thing I didn't reckon on was that the size of yarn differed somewhat from the pattern which I faithfully followed to produce the first tam pictured.
After three different people remarked that I would really need dreadlocks to look my best in this hat. I decided that I had to reduce its size - which of course meant that I had to pull out some of what I had done (5 rows in fact) and then redo the brim. After a bit of help finding my ends and carefully pulling out the 5 unneeded rows, I was able to redo the brim/band to produce a much better sized hat. I'm usually pretty resistant to pulling out what I've done so this is a step forward.