Thursday, February 28, 2008

Birthday Socks Picture

Birthday Socks completed. This picture was taken after their first wash. I don't know if you can see that they've fulled a little. The leg was originally an inch or two longer, and the ankle was a little roomier than I like. Fulled, they fit perfectly! They aren't as stretchy however, but they are warmer and less open. All in all, I love the socks but I'll be very cautious about purchasing this yarn again. And these babies will have to be handwashed (gasp) in the future.

I've also been doing some dyeing. My darling beloved has been saving onion skins for me for ages, and last weekend I steeped them for several hours, and then dyed a test skein. I was always told that onion skin would give a rich yellow/gold color. Not mine. Mine came out the most lovely rich brown. Now, I will admit that there was only two tiny test skeins, one mordanted with alum, one unmordanted, with a highly concentrated dye solution, so I thought maybe my first attempt was a fluke. So I tried again, overdyeing a skein that had been dyed with kool-aid, I believe; it was a horrible grayish pink. So I threw it in to the dyepot and let it cook for, well overnight. It's not as dark as the test skein, but it's still definitely a brown. So I thought, well maybe it's the overdyeing that left it brown, some dye in the pink that helped lean it towards brown. So I threw a smallish skein of handspun merino, white, into the exhaust. Let it cook all day. Again; it's lighter, but definitely brown. I'd planned to put pictures here, but my phone camera apparently had other ideas; the picture came out blank. So I'll try again later.

I know our water is very hard. It's so hard that stalactites grow in our shower, and I can't leave water in the teapot over night, or it leaves a solid layer of calcium in the bottom of the pot. So I'm wondering if that's why my colors aren't what I'm told to expect. I guess my next experiment will have to be with distilled water vs. tap water to see if there's any difference.

The other thing I wonder about is mordant. In all my tests I've used the same time, the same baths, everything the same, but I've used one alum mordanted skein and one unmordanted skein. I can't see any difference whatsoever between them. I need to try with some other mordants and see if there's any change with those. It is fun to experiment!

1 comment:

Dark Wraith said...

Good evening, Cherizac.

As far as your water goes, yes, all that calcium is going to create quite a bit of havoc: the calcium minerals are going to react with dyes, with other salts, with chlorine, with detergents, and even with fabrics, themselves. The best thing for you to do is to get a water distiller, even though a good, big, reliable one is rather costly. It was quite a financial hit for me to buy, but I am now able to use distilled water for everything from drinking and making coffee on through to dyeing fabric and cleaning. Think of it as an investment in the long-term health of your family.

I like to think that I wil eventually be able to get a distiller with a capacity sufficient that I can use its product for showers and washing clothes, but I seriously doubt if I could ever afford such a grand affair, and I probably couldn't fit such a behemoth in my apartment, anyway.

Seriously, though, if you're having calcium buildup to the extent that the crust is actually accumulating into cave features, that can't be good for you.

The Dark Wraith was just passing through on a quiet weekend evening.