Monday, November 29, 2010

Lunch Out - Lisa, Dawn and Denise

We decided to meet for lunch during the rushing about of the season. Chilli's was close. Coupon's were at hand.

We solved the world's problems, as always. Solved our problems: more fiber. We laughed and had a good time. We tried not to tease the waitress too much.

Considering it was about -20 degrees below F, we survived the drive, meal and trip back. We all hunkered down at jobs and home. We had a "heat wave". What we call a chinook. A warm south-western wind that melts the snow away. Now it's only snowy and 15 degrees out. Pleasant in comparison.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Making Your Acid Dyes Work For You - Denise

I'm a member of Dyehappy (Yahoo). The daily discussions and posts have improved my understanding of the different dyes and their preferred uses. I'm no expert, but I've gone from "What?" to "Got it."

In a post the other day one person asked about the amount of vinegar to use in preparing a dye bath for dyeing wool. Her concern was since the recipe was for American vinegar (5%) and she had (I guess) German (she referred to vinegard at 35%). She wanted to know know how much to use.

To sum up, poster Ian Bowers (from the UK) explained the exact amount depends on pH level. Now, I can see everyone's heart's begin to palpitate and palms begin to sweat. This isn't going to be a science class...not really. With M. Bower's help, I now understand how managing the dyebath will help me get better, more consistent results in dyeing. The amount of fiber and strength of acid is of very little importance. (Just go with me here - I've had my dye strike too fast with too much acid.) With acid dyes, maintaining the acid will allow the dye to strike at a consistent and controlled rate. I won't waste my resources.

Lets begin.
  1. Get some pH strips. You will need those. They should be available where you buy your pool or spa chemicals. Sometimes even at (cringe) Wal-mart.
  2. You need to check the pH of the water you use. M. Bowers' place of work has pH that varies from 7.5-9.3 in one day. Mine is processed river water. You can use filtered water.
  3. M. Bowers says, "The only competent way is to place the fibre in the bath and then add vinegar (or citric acid if cost is no object), aim for pH around 6 (except for some Jacquard dyes which are strong acid dyes and require a pH around 4. Ideally check the pH at 'half-time' and adjust with more acid if necessary. As an aside, brown vinegar does not stain the fibre, and is cheaper.
For some people this may seem like a lot of standing around, but I'm there watching my fiber anyway. I have the strips. I've had "interesting" dyeing experiences and not understood why. I'm beginning to piece together the science behind it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

New Spool Rack (Denise)

I've been waiting for my dad to make me a spool rack. For a variety of reasons, the project has been put off. Well, I got tired of waiting since my loom was sitting empty and was ready for my next project. I needed a spool rack to use with my sectional warp.

I made my own spool rack out PVC pipe. This is functional, and almost literate as a weaving tool.
To make this project, you'll need the following:
  • 4 - 90 degree elbows
  • 2 - 10' lengths of 3/4" PVC pipe (I found some pre-cut lengths so I only had to buy one)
  • 2 - 1/2" pipe about 2' long (I found some pre-cut lengths)
  • PVC pipe cutters (I used the ratcheting kind)
  • tape measure
  • permanent marker
  • 3/16" round wire (for the spools)
  • drill and drill bit larger than 3/16"
  • bolt cutters (cut the wire)
  • 2 self tapping screws 1-1/4" long
This construction is not exact science. So, decide a how many spools across? I did 4. It came out about 20-1/2"... on the inside, give or take. The wire needs to be a bit wider than half-way so it will stick in the holes and slots. The permanent marker is good for marking on PVC pipe.

It's about 41" long. I measured every 4" (centered 2" for the holes) along the sides on an extra piece as a template so the sides would be even. I drilled holes on one side and a slot on the other. Again this isn't exact or perfect. It will do, for now.

The 3/16" gauge round wire comes in 36" lengths. I could get 2 sections. So for 40 spools, that's 5 wires cut roughly in half and trimmed to fit.

The last step was to drill the 1/2" PVC pipe to the 3/4" pipe using the self tapping screws as a support.
Good luck!