Fiber Dyeing Day 1

I picked up a large order of fiber to dye for New Era Fiber Mill on Tuesday. It amounts in all a little over 32# and I plan to get it finished by Saturday so that I can deliver it on Tuesday before I have to leave for Chicago.

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It is mostly Suri Alpaca to be blended with either silk, bamboo, tencel, or merino at 80/20 ratios with the larger numbers being the alpaca. There are two batches of Huacaya Alpaca and they are not to be blended. They are the two darkest bags you see.

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I usually start these custom orders by doing samples to make sure my dye mixture and saturation are right to match the desired colors. Here is the 10g jars soaking before I add the dye mixtures.

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I made the samples match the percentage that will be in the final blend so that I will know how the dye will take overall. The alpaca will absorb and bond differently than the other fibers they will have added to them. You will see what I mean in the picture further down of the samples after they come out.

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Here is a slightly blurry (sorry) shot of the jars with the dye added before they go into the pot for heat setting.

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I was pleased with the results and only need to tweak a couple a bit. These are the Huacaya, and that little brown bit in the front is the color before I dyed them. The red is more burgundy and the other a forest green. My camera didn’t capture them very well.

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The left sample below is Suri/Bamboo and is a perfect match to the card. The right sample is Suri/Merino and while it was intended to be a few shades darker I over compensated on this one so have adjusted some to lighten it.

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These three samples are all Suri/Silk and I am pleased with these as they are. The intended colors were olive drab, lime green, and Robin’s egg blue.

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The top left sample is Suri/Merino to be dyed eggplant. Once blended it will be closer to the card. Next to that is a Suri/Bamboo to be dyed a cinnamon color. On the bottom left is a Suri/Bamboo also to be dyed emerald, and I am adjusting the color deeper on that one. The dark teal and the saffron on the bottom right are both Suri/Tencel blends and came out perfect too. 

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So, the rest of today I will be mixing up the dyes and starting the silk soaking. Silk needs to soak at least 24 hours to open up the fiber and make it more receptive to the dye. I will begin the dyeing tomorrow and finish up on Saturday. Look for more pictures soon plus a knitting update.

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