Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Cramjar dyeing

Saturday was Experimental spinning, however, as there was a very interesting 'secret' event happening at the guild, it was a very truncated meeting.
The topic was cramjar dyeing and I managed to give it a try on the Saturday morning. I did two dyes, one so we could see the finished product and the other to show how I'd achieved the effect.
Essentially with cramjar dyeing you want the yarn, fibre or fabric to soak up all the dye. To aid this I first wet the skein, damp but not wet. I did the dyeing in thirds with three different colours. I mixed the dye first, making sure it was well mixed. (Always difficult for me, as I just want to get on with the dyeing, but I was patient!)
The first third is easy as there's no possibility of mixing with anything. Subsequent thirds are more tricky, so careful pouring and gentle squeezing to distribute the dye. We're trying to have minimal mixing, which obviously doesn't happen. Then the last third was the same.
I then heated my beaker, very gently, so it wouldn't burn, then rinsed the skein.
The second beaker, I'm experimenting with 'solar' dyeing. As it's the middle of winter, this hasn't been easy, so I've had it in the car and sitting on top of the ducted heating vents. I do this for several reasons: one of my favourite guild members, who is no longer with us, used to solar dye everything and I'm honouring her memory. The other is just the idea of minimising my impact by not using electricity. (There's a lovely article on with further references for making solar ovens)
I'll have to take the skein out soon. See what happens, hope for the best!


Moorecat said...

You could also bung it in the oven after you've cooked dinner, so it uses up the leftover heat :)

wordweaver said...

Hi Teresa
someone at the dyeing meeting told me she puts her skeins in a plastic bag and puts the bag in the compost bin. The heat inside the bin sets the dye really well.
That is high on my list of things to try so I'll let you know how it goes.
Jan H.