Saturday, January 27, 2007

In Pea Soup

Novato is in a deep fog this morning. I love foggy mornings, especially if I don't have to drive in it. I'm sitting on the couch blogging, and my son is sitting by me happily playing Super Mario on his Nintendo DS. I just wish there was breakfast and coffee ready :-)

OK, it's looking like there will be "What Dyed This Wool?" contest soon. The dyed roving is out of the mystery dyebath and drip-drying in the kitchen right now. I might give it another dip in the dyebath before I wash it. I am not sure if I get that done, dry it, and card it and post the picture by Sunday night though. (I'm off to Montreal early Monday morning, and no, I shouldn't be blogging while I'm on a business trip.) Another question is, would there be enough people entering the contest to make it interesting? The visitor and page view count have been increasing slightly, but the numbers of comments have been pretty sad. I guess we'll see the power of yarn (that's the prize).

And as I promised -- Here's how I dyed with Turmeric.
- The wool was pre-mordanted (note that turmeric dye does not require mordant, according to the books I read) with Alum and Cream of Tartar, then dyed with Black-eyed Susans initially, and didn't come out well. Read how it went here, and here. I over-dyed the roving (about 30 grams) first in the turmeric dye bath first, then used the exhausted dye on the spun yarn (about 100 grams). Soak the wool/yarn you want to dye in water.
- One and a half tablespoons of turmeric (just a store-bought spice, and mine was pretty old and stale!) into about five cups of water, and simmer about ten minutes. Don't put wool in it yet! Charlie saw it while it was simmering in the kitchen, thought it was soup and almost tasted it. That's OK, it's completely edible -- the taste aside.
- Turn off the heat, and filter the dye bath with a paper coffee filter. Careful not to splash -- anything this dyebath touches will turn yellow and will not come out if it's fiber.
- Return the filtered dyebath to the pot (I used stainless-steel bowl), make sure that it's cool or luke-warm, and put the wet wool in it.
- Turn on the heat at the lowest point, and heat the dyebath slowly.
- I simmered it gently for about 30 minutes, turned off the heat and let it cool. The wool sat in the cool dyebath for about three hours.
- Gently wash in cool water until the water is clear. Roll it in towels to remove water, then hang-dry.
- Although I filtered the dyebath beforehand (definitely recommended!), while carding the dried wool lots of tiny turmeric particles came off.
- After the wool is dry, it has no smell. Or maybe I just don't notice -- as I love the smell of Indian food. I wouldn't mind wearing a scarf that has a slight aroma of curry :-)
- I have two books that mention Turmeric as a natural dye. One book says the color-fastness is excellent. Another says it's fugitive (meaning, the color will easily fade). Interesting... I'll see how colorfast it is.

Here's what I spun and plied from the turmeric-dyed roving.
-- A photo of spun yarn here --

** Fine. I've read it several times on other people's blogs, but the new Blogger apparently has an issue with uploading pictures. What's the point of the new version if I couldn't even post a picture? I will go brew coffee and try it again after I'm well caffinated and have more patience. Please come back later for the picture!

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