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cookin' grey

Today I attempted my second go at trying to dye my own roving. Last go was a bust as my wool felted quite badly which I believe was due to too high heat and too much agitation. The color was lovely though! This time I used Dharma acid dye in silver grey. I used 2 1/4 teaspoons dye to 1 gallon water and 1 tablespoon citric acid with a quarter pound of merino roving and did my best to keep the temperature under 200 degrees. The color looks quite purple in the pot, I am hoping it will grey once washed and dried.

It's out of the pot drying and looks quite dark and with a lot of dark purple splotches, oh dear! it's not what I had hoped. The good news is it doesn't seem felted though may be a bit tangled compared to its pre-dyed state. I think I should have added the citric acid to the dye bath in a more even way, I'm guessing that is what caused the spots. The directions say cook for 10 minutes then add in citric acid and cook for 10 more. Maybe I should have dissolved it in a larger amount of water so it was more diluted? The other possibility is the dye wasn't fully dissolved before adding the roving? Clearly I'll need to get more roving and practice the art of dying!

After researching a bit more, the trouble shooting suggestions are to use a bigger pot so the dye water and wool can move more freely, stir more frequently, and check that the wool is truly soaking wet before dying (soak for 30 minutes before dying). I was too afraid to stir since last time the lot felted on me and I did not soak the wool I only wetted it — that's the likely culprit. I may need to get a 21 quart enamel dying pot since my pot is not nearly that big.

more dye instructions

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