Hand Painting Yarn

Well today is the first day of my attempt at blogging on my new website.

In addition to creating all the pages for this site, I have been busy soaking thousands of yards of rayon in dye baths and readying them for hand painting.

So what is this process? Rayon fibers need to be opened to accept the dye, so I first soak them over night in a solution of water and dawn dish soap.  The water soaks in and the dawn will clean any grease or dirt from the fiber.  After 24 hours the yarns will go into a soda ash solution and then be ready for the dye process.

I like to mix my dyes without the soda ash as they seem to have a longer shelf life that way.  Dye is expensive so I try not to waste any.  After mixing the dyes with the proper ratio of water into smaller hair dye type bottles I will be ready to use them.

The yarns are laid out on giant tables that are covered with plastic wrap. Dye is squeezed out directly onto the yarn and then painted into place using foam paint brushes. Multiple color patterns are used so that no two shawls will look alike.  The fun part is playing with each color and so the sequence kind of evolves as I paint.  When all the yarn has been painted, it is carefully rolled into the saran wrap and allowed to sit for at least 24 hours to set the color.  Next I need to rinse them well and then let them dry thoroughly.  So, now you know what I will be doing for the next day or so…Any questions?  As dyeing is a long process, I try to paint my warp yarns in batches of at least 20 shawls…that will keep me weaving for days and days.

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