Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Hand Painting Roving
Above you will see my section of roving having a nice soak in the sink with vinegar and water. Once it is completely water logged I very carefully remove it and drape it over a hanger to let the excess drip out. I know that at this point some people roll it in a towel to remove excess water but they usually have a tighter fiber bundle. This is just my preferred method. The main reason being that if you do a tighter more compact bundle it is going to require a longer soak to allow all the fibers to become saturated. While the roving is hanging I prepare my sheet of plastic wrap using a piece of tape to secure it to the floor at each end. Then I lay the roving out and begin placing my colors. I use syringes which I have from the mic-key kits for my son, but you can easily find them at your farm supply store or ask your pharmacist.
Here is what the roving looks like after I have placed my dyes where I want them. Just remember that your colors will blend to some extent. That is part of the fun of it though. Just play and have fun! That's what the whole process is for me! It's a great stress reliever. And it's always fun to see what you end up with. The next step for me is to move my roving to the sides of the strip of plastic wrap and then roll them in towards the center creating a colorful wool sausage. I do this to help keep the color blending to a minimum.
This is where you set the dye. Once I have the roving sausaged and rolled toward the center I then loosely roll them to create the round wheel that you see above. I say loosely because as it heats and creates steam the plastic wrap will blow up like a balloon. This is then placed on a microwave safe plate. Now my microwave doesn't have high or low so I can't really tell you which setting to use. You will just have to experiment. I have devised my own little method but there really is no right or wrong you just have to figure out what works with your microwave. For me I set the plate in and turn the microwave on for 5 minutes, after the 5 minutes I take it out and place another plate on top and flip it over. My main reason for doing this is to keep the dying even as the dye will settle to the bottom. In my little brain it tells me that if I don't turn the roving over I'm going to have a dark side and a light side. And that if the dye all puddles to the bottom it may end up blending colors more that I would like. On average my roving wheels take about 20 minutes. When I flip them I am also looking for the color of the seepage from the wheels which you will see on the plate. Sometimes the wool will absorb all the dye and other times and with certain colors there will be some residual dye don't panic it doesn't necessarily mean that your roving isn't finished. Some of the darker dyes seem to leave residual more than others and more often than not it's just fine.
Below you will see the wheels on the plate ready for their microwave sauna!
Step 4 Cooling
Once their microwave session is finished I leave them on the plate to rest and begin to cool. After about 30 minutes I take them to the laundry room and drape them over a hanger and hang it above the washing machine to let them finish cooling and the excess water to drip out before the begin their rinsing soak. I make sure an undo the ends of the roll to allow the extra water and dye to run out.
Step 5 Rinsing
For the rinsing step I prefer to use my washer. You can use your sink or a tub of water what ever you choose. For me the washer is the easiest. Only if you have a top loading washer though. I partially fill the washer (just enough to cover the amount of roving I will be placing in. Then I remove the plastic from the roving and place the roving into the washer. I let it soak for about an hour and check the water to see how the dyes took. I never shut the lid :o) I have accidentally left the washer on after filling and shut the lid only to hear that lovely agitating sound EEEEK!!! After soaking and checking I then set my washer to the shortets gentlest spin cycle. Let it spin and repeat the process at least one more time. If you like you can put a bit of wool wash in the last rinse cycle.
Well I guess that's about it! Have fun and don't be afraid of color!