07 August 2009

How To: Home Dye Roving for Spinning.

I'm excited! I got it into my head last night that now would be the perfect time to retry a roving home dying experiment. I'm making this into a How To, no matter what the outcome, but so far I think I'm in the clear!

The first step I took was to prepare the roving (about 2 metres of blue faced leicester) in a mordant bath of half white vinegar and half water, and set it on the balcony overnight. Leaving it on the balcony is not a necessary step in the dying process, but for me, it's necessary step in keeping my boyfriend.

Wanting to make things complicated, as I usually do, I decided to dye my roving in three colours using food colouring (for details on how to dye with food colouring, please have a look at this How To), to give a bit of a Noro-esque quality to the finished product.

For this, I took three plastic tubs, filled each with about 300 mls of water, added blue, cochineal, and red to each dyebath respectively, and then, like a long, damp snake placed my one, long piece of roving into the baths.

Once this had been achieved, I built the tubs up, like so, adding bits of cardboard to the sides so that the tubs wouldn't sink too far down into each other; an outcome that woudl have left me with a lot of dyed water flowing out all over the place.

Once they were safely stacked, I placed them in my microwave for 8 minutes on full, removed them, unstacked and allowed to cool. I then moved the undyed roving between the baths into the next bath over, so that some of the dyed roving was being double-dyed. I hope this will give the whole thing a lovely gradual colour change.

After another 8 minute zap in the microwave, I removed, allowed to cool completely, rinced in cool water and am currently letting the whole kit and caboodle drip dry back out on the balcony, out of direct sunlight*.

Tomorrow, if it's totally dry (and unfelted) I'll have a go at spinnign it, and may even try a little Navajo-plying into the bargain.

*But, sure, in Ireland, what ISN'T out of direct sunlight?!


  1. Nice how to! I must try the food colour to dye things other than cakes so...

  2. Oh, do! It's a lot of fun, and has the added bonus that you don't end up dying your clothes or hands in the process; it only sticks permanently where you intend it to. : )



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