A little bit of this and, a little bit of that, makes a little bit of me.

A Walk in the Rainbow


…of over-dyed combed top wool.

Last pound Targhee and Pined-draft Rambouillet Dyed in Slow Cooker, drying

Dyeing in a crock pot is a simple procedure. It does take more time than either dyeing on the stove-top or in the microwave. Surprisingly, the results were completely different than one mentioned below. Advantage with crock pot dyeing is that you don’t have to stand over it and can go do something else while waiting. I like gradual heating the crock provides and being able to interrupt, or prolong, the process without doing any damage to the yarn. A good rule of thumb–at least that is what I have learned works best— is to dye no more ounces of yarn than your crock has quarts. Putting it differently, since I’m using a 8 quart crock, I should not dye much more than 8 oounces of fiber–yarns or roving–at a time.

Due to the impatient nature, my preference is still the hand-paint method with a foam paintbrush, using same mix of colors, and set dye in microwave. The pot on the stove method is great if I want monochromatic or inconsistent single color result.

All the dyeing experiments were completely wonderful…and COOL! That’s really the best way to describe it!

While waiting for over-dyed combed tops to dry, I made an interesting accidental discovery

4-grams, 27-yard, sock-weight Fake Noro/Kureyon Singles
At the 27th Annual Spin-Off Autumn Retreat (SOAR) in Sunriver Resort few months ago, I learned about hand combing with Renee Russo in one afternoon and another morning with Deb Menz about color spinning–no spinning, just a lot of blending with color merino tops. Every exercise in these two classes was timed. Imagine trying to absorb, process, digest, and keep up with everything that may be foreign…and carefully not to poke my fingers!


Deb working the diz
Hand combing and drum carding with Deb Menz, a long-time hero of mine, was a super fine treat since I couldn’t get in the class initially. Deb’s book turned me onto nearly everything I do today–dyeing, working with color, creating colorways, and spinning hand-painted yarns. So, of course, seeing Deb does simple things like striping a batt or pull combed fiber off a hackle was…like a celebrity moment for me. I got her to explain to me her major and minor key concepts from Color in Spinning and I finally got it. Major Key colorways include entire range of values, but in different proportions, so the yarn looks a bit more salt-&-peppery. Minor Key colorways include a small set of close values so the yarn looks closer to semi-solid with very little internal contrast. It’s wonderful to hear the explanation from the source because I was totally confused by reading the chapter.

Our class was about experimenting with the three different properties of color: hue, value, and saturation. We started out with a single color of fiber and split it into six portions. With each portion, we blended in a smaller portion of another color to create a variation…so a single color was shifted warmer and cooler, darker and lighter, duller and brighter. Some of us used drum carders. Others used large hackles or hand combs. Since I was last to arrive in class, my choice of color was slim…plain old throw-up green, modified six ways. You can see a sample of hand-spun from some of the batts I carded at the class here.

What do hand-combing and color spinning have to do with my dyeing experiments, you ask? When I am still unhappy with my over-dyed roving (at least a small portion,) I spliced stripes of colored tops, using the Diz-ing technique learned above. Here is the fruition in a fraction of time, play, and fearless attitude:

From this diz stripes to Fake Noro/Kureyon true singles shown above

Enjoy your dyeing and color-blending adventure! Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

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Comments on: "A Walk in the Rainbow" (1)

  1. What an awesome process! Thanks for stopping by my birthday blog party and for the well-wishes. Hope to see you again in cyberspace! 🙂

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