Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dyeing & Reskeining Issues

I am consistently having some of the same issues when I am dyeing. I really need to figure out if it is something I am doing or if it a product of the dyes I am using.

I had been using Dharma Fiber Reactive Procion Dyes. I think they are working very well.

The problem is they seem to take forever to rinse out. It takes several hours. I am soaking them for 15 minutes, then swishing them around, trying to work the dye out for under the tied points. I empty the sink and do it again. I generally have to do that 5-6 times before the water is light enough that I can wash it.

Then I wash it with Synthrapol. I have to wash it at least twice with this. Again, there is even more color coming out as I rinse it.

Then I wash it with Milsoft. This softens the fibers and gives back some of the feel the yarn had. But there is still color coming out during this part of the process as well.

This all takes 4-5 hours. So if I want to dye, I have to have a complete weekend at home. Saturday is dye day, Sunday is wash day.

So all that is done, right. It is done. Right? Nope.

Now comes the nightmare of reskeining/making balls of the yarn.

Thing is, I haven't had an easy time of this either. I had hoped the swifts would really resolve this issue. It didn't.

I suspect part of that is about the way I have been tying up the skeins. I have been tying them all together. For instance, with this last batch there was 3 different pieces of yarn. I think it is a big problem that I tied them together. So they get tangled into each other. So it makes a mess. I suspect that is part of the issue. The next batch each length of yarn will be tied off separately.

I also fear that part of it is about the way I wash the yarn. I am trying to get the dye out from under the tie points. I think that by moving it around with my fingers, it is tangling the yarn under the tie points. Thus making a mess of it.

Here is a pic of the tangles:

Undertow 100% Bamboo Yarn - Tangles

This only happened at the tie points. Not at the parts where the yarn was loose. So I think that by working at those points, it is making things worse.

I really want to make this process better. I do love dyeing yarn. I love creating interesting colorways and playing with the colors. It is very free form and a lot of fun for me.

The problem is that I am not sure it is worth all this time and frustration. Every time I am pulling out my hair by the end of the reskeining/ball process. I spend hours untangling yarn. And it doesn't seem to make any sense.

I keep wondering if it isn't something in my process that is doing this. I can't imagine anyone would dye yarns in small batches to sell if they go through all this.

But part of me just keeps wondering if this isn't more about the fiber reactive vs. acid dyes. And also wool yarn vs. cotton/bamboo/etc.. I am hopeful that there is something in my process I can change so that this doesn't continue to be such a headache.

1 comment:

Alpaca Granny said...

I'm thinking about your issues. Before I dye yarn, I tie each individual skein in at least 4 places. The only time I've gotten tangles is occasionally when I spin out in the spin cycle of my washing machine.