Thanks to the wonderful workings of Fedex, my order of roving arrived here 3 days early! Yippie! I now have 40 kg of fiber to dye, spin, and snuggle. I spent the afternoon counting and sorting and generally organising, not to mention trying to decide what I was going to play with first.
I decided to stick with the bamboo as I haven’t dyed any plant based fibers before and it’s always fun to try new things.
I started by soaking the bamboo in a solution of water and urea.
I then mixed up a solution of water and soda ash, poured this into 3 squirt bottles, and added dyes in the primary colours. I mix all of my colours from the primaries, it’s simpler than having 60 different jars of dye powder kicking around (you do need to be careful with breaking colours if you do it this way).
Next I put down a length of saran wrap (about 6 ft long) and ran the bamboo up and down the length of the saran wrap. This way you get a good length to lay down your colours. I then use my squirt bottles to paint the roving (give the roving a little sqeeze to help distribute the colours more evenly).
Once your happy with the colours fold one side of the saran wrap over, then the other (it should make a sort of sausage looking thing), then roll up from one end, and tada, ready to set roving. The bamboo is dyed with fiber reactive dyes so it’s just left to sit for 6-24 hours depending on the colour you want. I will leave mine to soak overnight and i’ll give it a rinse in the morning.
I had a little bit of dye left over so I tried to other methods to see what kind of effects I would get. One is plunck in bowl, squirt with dye, cover. And the other plunck in bag, squirt with dye, seal bag. Pretty simple stuff 🙂
This is a shot of the setup I use for roving. I dye 4-100g braids of roving per length of saran wrap and 2 sets per colourway. Since I generally dye at least 10 kilos of roving per dye day, I mix all my primaries in 4 litre pails. I use a turkey baster to spread the dyes and small glass bowls to mix individual colours.
Here’s a sampling of some of the new roving colours for this set! I’m so glad that spring is coming and I can take a step back from the darker colours. There’s nothing like a cashmere rainbow to brighten your day!