Amazingly enough, I finished all my dye work yesterday – except the Mustard Yellow samples which I finished this morning – so I am done with dyeing for now. The sample skeins will go to my friend Ginny (who, with amazing generosity, offered to wind them onto cards for me in exchange for the “leftovers” from each skein), and hopefully she should have them wound by end of next weekend. Until I get them back, however, I won’t be able to make any more progress on my Lanaset dye samples, so I’ll be focusing on weaving. I have determined my threading (basically a point draw in double two-tie, with three narrow stripes of single two-tie blocks between the bottoms of each point) and will work on threading it up over the next few days. I should be able to finish by Thursday, best guess, and then will be able to start weaving.
The 30/2 tencel-silk blend dyed beautifully – except for the dark brown, which came out both paler and cooler than I had wanted – and I will be winding it up over the next few days. I may purchase a rheostat to go with the foot controller for my AVL double ended bobbin winder – I want to control the max speed with something more consistent than foot pressure, and the foot pedal isn’t set up to take a wedge (my first idea). The replacement motor for my skein winder may be arriving soon, too, which would let me wind more skeins for dyeing.
I am also considering starting up a second set of dye study group samples, this time for Cibacron F (fiber-reactive) dye on silk. It has occurred to me that if it takes Ginny a week to wind each set of skeins for me, I can occupy the intervening time with dyeing samples for the “other” type of dye. I also badly want a color-matching sample set for Cibacron F, because it has some lovely fuchsias that I would otherwise have to use Polar Red to get. Polar Red is an acid dye, but it is so much less washfast than the Lanaset dyes that I’d rather go to fiber-reactive. Each dye has a different palette of colors available…and I would love to have the Cibacron “arrow” in my quiver!
The only downside is that Cibacron F, like most fiber-reactive dyes, takes much more work to wash out than the acid dyes. In fact, if you are after reproducible color, you have to spend an extra 45 minutes post-dye-session to wash out the skeins – first rinsing them in hot water, then neutralizing the alkali with vinegar, then boiling with soap, and then rinsing in hot water again. It makes me tired just thinking about it! And because it takes so much longer, I may not be able to do my dyebaths in the morning. (Typically I get up around 5:30-6am, and as soon as it gets light out (around 6:30am), I sneak outside and do some dyeing. With acid dyes, this takes about 90 minutes and I’m done in plenty of time to get to work. But with Cibacron F, where the whole dyeing/wash-out takes well over two hours, the timing will be much tighter.)
So I will also do a few trials over the next few days to see whether Cibacron F dyeing will fit into my schedule.
Plan for the next few days: do some Cibacron F dyeing, thread up loom, draft more designs to play with/weave!