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Topic: my wool is weirdly woolly and not what i want!  (Read 802 times)
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Tinkerbellforever
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« on: May 17, 2007 06:16:38 PM »

[the great title, i know.]

[oh, and forgive so many topics..i'm just fulll of questions. :p]

thought about putting this in the dyeing forum, but it seems like there are more fiberheads 'round these parts, so i'll leave it here unless it technically needs to be somewhere else.

So, I've been dyeing with Koolaid. eventually, I will broaden my horizons, but, you know..baby steps. anyways, I had this beautiful, natural white, creamy-to-the-touch, completely soft and wonderful roving.
After dyeing [my mordant? is that the word? was vinegar...maybe i used too much? i go kinda slap happy with it], it was a bit tougher, and really horrible compared to the smooth, silky loveliness of it's former life.

I'm currently wavering between it being the dye's fault, or maybe i felted it a little. it *was* maybe a bit hotter this time? maybe i prepped it wrong? i dunno.

when i spin it, it has little "balls" of fiber that were not there before, for sure. [they look kind of like when something starts pilling, the little "pills"].
the fiber is also not as soft to the touch. it felt tough, and less like some silky fiber, and more like some fiber from down under, if you know what i mean. [it was also crap to spin. ergh.]

any thoughts? i really don't want to do it again, and i'm sorta afraid of dyeing again because i have all this lovely, natural wool that i really don't want to turn into satanwool.
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jacquiw
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2007 08:41:57 PM »

If you were using fine merino i have had a problem with that pilling. Its way to fine for everyday kinda spinning. If you can don't buy roving thats under 18 microns as its probably way to fine for what you want. When i buy roving i usually buy 18 or higher, the higher the number the coarser the wool. I find anything between 18 and 24 quite adequate for general use.The Bon may have more info for you more suitable for the US market.
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« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2007 09:20:57 PM »

Too much vinegar can damage the wool. Especially with Kool-aid which is already full of enough citric acid to dye on it's own. So it could be that. It could also be slight felting. Or, like Jacquiw said, it could just be super fine wool which you would want to spin at a higher twist and higher wpi than a bulky single.

I'm not sure where you bought your fiber from, but there are a ton of good sources for non-super fine wool, you just need to read descriptions when you buy it.

What kind of wool are you dying?
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Mickele
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« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2007 11:10:22 PM »

I've dyed using Kool-aid before. You don't need the vinegar at all! I didn't use it, and my yarn ended up lovely.
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Star217
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2007 07:43:03 AM »

You may have overboiled the wool, causing bits of it to felt into little pills. When dying with koolaid no mordant is needed because it has acid in it already. I find the best way to dye super soft roving is to let is soak in cool water for 1/2 an hour before I dye it. Then I submerge it in the dye, or what ever method I'm using, wrap it with cellophane and stick it in the micro wave for 5-7 minutes. Then I wash with cold water, gently and throw it in the washing machine on spin to dry it a bit before I hang it out. Hope this helps.
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Tinkerbellforever
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« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2007 12:47:12 AM »

my wool is Sheep Shed studio stuff. it's the wool/mohair mix, only i pulled most of the mohair out of the roving strips for spinning a seperate, mostly mohair skein.
[out of curiosity, does anyone know what kind of wool they use? i've thought about emailing Carol, i probably will. she may not have any idea, but it's worth finding out]

thinking back, i'm pretty sure it is a combination of problems. the toughness is most likely due to the heat [it was definately hotter this past time i dyed it. hmm.] and the vinegar probably caused the roughness and the great likelihood it has to break and fuzz.

when i dyed some other wool with koolaid and the temperature was lower, i didn't have the felting problem, though the rough, fuzzyness thing was still the issue.

thanks for the help, ya'll.
I didn't realize koolaid was so acidic.
does it usually wash out at all without a mordant?
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« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2007 08:51:34 AM »

first of all, vinegar isn't really a mordant. but no, kool-aid will not wash out without it because the citric acid in the kool-aid does the same job that vinegar would with a non-kool-aid acid dye. In order for them to dye they just require acid, usually citric acid or vinegar because they is cheap and not horribly caustic [although you still want to be careful not to inhale, drink, or spend a lot of times with your hands in a citric acid bath.]

The Sheep Shed resells Brown Sheep mill ends, which is just a wool blend. The wool/mohair would be likely be mill ends from lamb's pride. I did a google search and wasn't able to find what specific wools go into the wool blend that Brown Sheep uses.
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« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2007 02:21:47 PM »

first of all, vinegar isn't really a mordant. but no, kool-aid will not wash out without it because the citric acid in the kool-aid does the same job that vinegar would with a non-kool-aid acid dye. In order for them to dye they just require acid, usually citric acid or vinegar because they is cheap and not horribly caustic [although you still want to be careful not to inhale, drink, or spend a lot of times with your hands in a citric acid bath.]

The Sheep Shed resells Brown Sheep mill ends, which is just a wool blend. The wool/mohair would be likely be mill ends from lamb's pride. I did a google search and wasn't able to find what specific wools go into the wool blend that Brown Sheep uses.


awesome, thanks. i didn't know that.

i'm really not sure what i'd do without craftster...the area i'm in is unfortunately not really ripe with spinners. thanks for all ya'lls help.
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« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2007 03:12:01 PM »

Quote
first of all, vinegar isn't really a mordant

Can I ask what vinegar is considered?  I think I always say its the mordant.  Maybe I'm confused as to what a mordant is!  Thanks Bon!
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yarnknotzi
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2007 03:40:58 PM »

Vinegar is really just a pH modifier. Some dyes require a certain pH to "strike". A mordant is any chemical that creates places for the dye to molecularly bond to the fiber. Because of the change in the wool's structure, some mordants can make fibers rough, or slimy, or dissolve them, if too much is used.
Acid dyes are, effectively, substantive dyes. They don't require a mordant to be effective, they already have one, they just require the appropriate pH to do their work. The pH shift "opens up" the wool's fibers, just like you have to add alkalinity to felt wool, you usually need an acid to help dye hit. By playing with pH, you can even slightly change the colors you get. This shows up a lot more in natural dyeing, because many natural dye sources are practically pH indicators, but even with acid dyes, it can happen. Some reds and blues require different pH to strike, which is why some purple dyes don't dye evenly, you have to start with just a small amount of vinegar and work your way up.
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