Monday, July 15, 2013

Weekend of Wool

My weekend was filled with wool.  On Saturday, my hubby and I went over to our friends' farm for dinner.  They have three Finn sheep named Zelda, Fitzgerald, and Steinbeck.  The three of them are the friendliest sheep.  Zelda and Fitzgerald (Fitz for short) love for me to scratch their heads and chests.  When I do, they wag their tails back and forth furiously, like dogs!  The sheepies follow us around the yard and love attention.  
Fitzgerald, up close and personal
Zelda and her gorgeous lashes!
Steinbeck, who looks like he's wearing a feathered cap thanks to the chicken in the foreground.
Our friends also have chickens.  They were having fun in the sun, strutting their stuff.

The Sheepie Gang
We enjoyed the rest of the evening at the farm, eating kebabs, chatting, and playing Settler's of Catan board game.   

Sunday was spent dyeing wool for my Etsy shop, The Purled Ewe.  I had purchased some Falkland, Merino/Silk, and Organic Polwarth that all needed painting.  The other day on Ravelry, in the Greener Shades Dyes group, I read how someone dyed their wool by putting into a big jar and setting in the sun for the day, like you do when making sun tea.  I gave that a go, and though the result wasn't exactly what I was going for, I'm still very pleased with it!  

Falkland wool dyed with Greener Shades Dyes, cooking in the sun
The sun method didn't work 100% well.  It mostly exhausted the color, but I did have to put it on the stove to finish the color exhaustion.  Took much longer than I expected too.  Next time I do this method, I'm going to try it with Wilton's food coloring and see what happens.  I think it just didn't get hot enough for the Greener Shades Dyes to cook well enough in the sun.

The next method I did was dyeing on the stove in my canning pot.  I wanted to use some of my new Wilton's colors to see what they would do (never quite know what to expect, especially if Red #3 is involved in the color).  I had heard that Delphinium Blue breaks into different colors if there is too much acid.  With the vinegar soak I do prior to dyeing, there was plenty of acid to break it and the Juniper Green color I used.  

In the pot, I have Buttercup Yellow, Delphinium Blue, and Juniper Green.  Notice how many other colors emerged including purple, pink, and brownish-red.  Like I said, you never know exactly what colors you will get with certain Wilton's colors, but you do get pleasant surprises!  

I also did some hand painting too.  Hand painting is probably my favorite way to dye roving and yarn.  It still can come out with random colors and patterns, but I have a bit more control over what happens.

Here's some merino/silk that I hand painted...
The colorway above was inspired by our trip to Ohio Caverns last week.  

This was done with Burgandy, Orange, and Brown Wilton's.  I jelly rolled it in the plastic, and steamed it in my canning pot to cook it.  

Above is another hand painted roving of Organic Polwarth.  Royal Blue, Purple, Leaf Green, Burgundy and Orange Wilton's.  I was basing this colorway on this picture I found online...

I'll be sure to post the finished products here once they dry, and they will be available in my shop soon.  Some will be sold as dyed roving, and I may spin a few to sell as hand spun.  Stay tuned!