Friday, February 2, 2007

Fiber Fun, Part 2

Wow! Was I surprised to see how rich and vibrant the colors got after zapping the sausages in the microwave. The blue which had been a sickly pale blue was now a bright royal blue, the lilac (?) a royal purple, and a neon sign could not be as bright as the chartreuse. But would the yarn keep the color or would it wash out in the rinse?

The details: I placed the tub with the lid on loosely in the microwave along with a cup 3/4 full of water to act as a heat sink. I didn't want to set the yarn on fire. (I don't know if this is scientifically accurate, but it sounded like a good idea when I read about it.) Also, with the yarn all wrapped up there was no way to tell when the boiling point had been reached to create steam. As I wanted to warm the yarn up gently and because I have a rather powerful microwave (825W), I set the power level half way (5) and zapped the yarn for 6 minutes. Then I increased the power level to 8 and zapped for another 6. Things were starting to get steamy, but not enough I thought, so I did another 3 minutes on 8. And I turned the tub around each time I checked the yarn.

I had not sealed the ends of the wrap, as was suggested, because I thought the steam should be allowed to escape and I didn't want the sausages to explode. The result was that some of the dye water, not much, leaked out into the tub. Perhaps next time I'll put a cloth or paper towel under the coils. I think I will also turn the coils over as well as turning them around once or twice. The lid helped to keep the steam in the tub and I let the tub cool in the oven for several hours before unwrapping them. (Actually, I had to teach a few lessons.) The lid also helped to keep the smell of hot wet wool down to a minimum. And that was it! Very easy indeed.

When I was finished teaching, and the coils were completely cool, I unwrapped the them and rinsed off the hanks. I probably was a little too vigorous here as I got some felting later when the yarn dried, especially in the chartreuse areas as that was the only dye to run during the rinse. I then placed the hanks into a tub of tap water with a little Eucalan and let them sit for a few minutes before squeezing out the water with my hands and hanging them up to dry. Drying took forever because it rained the next day and I had the hanks hanging in the garage.

Once they were completely dry, it was time to wind the hanks into skeins and start swatching! Again searching the web, I found a site (thanks Elka) that explains how to wind a hank of yarn into a nice figure-8 sort of ball with a center pull. Elka calls it a "cacoon." Whatever you want to call it, it works and is really neat. Elka supplies complete details and lots of pictures but below is what you get when you are finished. The photos also show somewhat how the colors are going to blend together later when they are knitted.

Next installment: swatches.

Fiber Fun Part 3

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