Jul 14, 2012

I love it when a plan comes together

Step 1 - Create dyestocks ... CHECK!

From left to right, we have Jacquard acid dye in Chestnut, then Ciba colours Cobalt, Golden Yellow and Red.

When you look at them from above, the sun casts a shadow with a highlight that shows the colour:

(in this one they're sorted red, yellow, blue, brown)

Here's what I did:

  1. I got out every piece of dyeing equipment I own and took it to the back deck. Include in your mental image a pair of black nitrile gloves (sweaty hands inside those gloves on this delightful summer day), a particulate mask, a container of Culligan water (trying to avoid chlorine and whatnot in the tap water, although I'm not sure that's really important. I had the water kicking around, so I used it), a stainless steel pot and two kitchen scales (I like to check one against the other ... call me OCD. Actually, I'm not OCD - I'm CDO. The letters should be in alphabetical order, for heaven's sake!) 
  2. I measured 500mL of water (8oz = 250mL for those who are confused by my metric brain) and put it in the pot.
  3. I measured 15g of chestnut dye powder (that was the whole container, which claimed it was a half-ounce) and put it in the pot.
  4. I measured 1 drop of Synthrapol into the pot.
  5. I turned the heat on, got it steaming, and stirred it until the dye was dissolved.
  6. I poured it into a container that holds a litre (1000mL = 1L ... you do the non-metric math) and added another 500mL of water.
  7. I poured that into the glass jar that I'm going to store it in for up to six months. I had a little bit extra, so that went into the plastic cup. I'll use that for sampling tomorrow (stay tuned for that ridiculously exciting post).
Here's what I have to consider tomorrow:

Weight of fibre. If I know what the fibre weighs dry, I'll know how much total dyestock to use to get a 2% depth of shade, which is what I think I need to get a rich brown. I'm working with 1100g of fibre, so I'll split that and work with an even 1000g and then whatever that calculation yields, I'll add a tenth of it to make up for the extra 100g of fibre. (Yes, it would have been much easier to do this math had I used 10g of dye powder instead of 15g, but it's still a multiple of 5 and therefore not a weird or tricky number.) Each skein of undyed yarn is 100g, so when I go to do the immersion dyeing, I'll divide my total dyestock number by 11 and make sure I use that much for each skein as it goes in the pot.

I also have to figure out, since my sampling is going to be done on a very small scale, how to take the ratio that I find for the perfect blend of chestnut, cobalt, red and yellow and scale it up to the total amount of dyestock required for the fibre.  For example, if I use 2 drops of chestnut and one each for the others, that's 2:1:1:1. I can then use that in my master calculation for the 1000g + 100g of fibre.

I'm off to do some math. And eat local, fresh raspberries and peas. I couldn't resist, even though the price they charge for raspberries comes close to highway robbery. (I bought them at a place close to the side of the highway, so it's not regular robbery - it's highway robbery.)

Shut up, spellcheck - fibre, litre and colour are spelled correctly!

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