Monday, November 15, 2010

...And I Do Mean "Gunk"...

This is the rinse water after my skeins of weft yarn soaked overnight:

Ewwww! The wash water, after a long simmer in soda ash and soap, is almost as bad - dark tea color. This yarn will need another thorough rinse before it goes into dyepots.

The warp skeins were bleached cotton, which I assume takes care of a lot of the spinning oils and natural waxy substance that cotton fibers are coated with, so I only wetted them out overnight - no scouring was needed.

This yarn, a mill-end bought about 14 years ago, is unbleached, but mercerized. I've never seen a yarn that shed so much dirt in the rinse and wash!

In a comment on the previous post, Teena asked what I use for skein hangers. This is a method I learned from Michele Wipplinger of Earthues. Go to the hardware store. Look for heavy copper wire, and clear, flexible vinyl tubing. Choose a copper wire (12 or 16 gauge?) that just fits into a small diameter tubing. Cut the copper wire about 2 inches shorter than the tubing, slide it into the tubing, and seal the ends with plumbers Gunk (yes, that's the name of the stuff - it comes in a tube). Bend the ends so they will latch, as shown above.

Sealed this way, water can't get into the tube, so if you work with natural dyes that can easily be affected by metals, the copper won't influence the dye. The copper is flexible enough that it is easy to bend the loops open to slip the skeins on, but latch firmly so the skein can't escape.

You never stir the dyebath once the yarn goes in - just lift the hangers up and down in a pumping motion, and that'll stir the liquid enough that you don't get either uneven dye or tangled yarn.


Unknown said...

Thanks for the directions for the yarn hangers. I'm off to Home Depot for supplies. I've usually used cords but recently have been using the flexible tubing to make rings that I use to hold a cross at the end of sections I've warped. I put a small section of wider tube over the end and pop it together and apart as needed. It also give me a separation in the cross to get my fingers into easily when I want to put the ends of the warp onto the lease sticks.
Teena Tuenge

Sharon said...

I left the comment for this page under the following day. Like Teena I am grateful for the information.