Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What are you doing while preparing to dye?

We are having dyeing days on Thursday at hook-in during the month of March.
Last week when a brand new dyer was preparing to dye for the first time we spent time going over what is necessary to prepare to dye.
I was amazed that old rumours still persist.

pre-washing your wool before dyeing - what for ?
Every time you process your wool, this includes washing and dyeing, you will loose acreage.
Synthrapol is both a soaking and a scouring agent, it will remove whatever sizing boogie men might be in the wool. Watch me wet my wool in the video below (this is what passes for excitement in Wiarton!)
Don't wash your wool before you dye it unless it is recycled. You are losing expensive, expensive real estate each time. Be a good conservator of energy, washing and drying wool that doesn't need it at all is both shortsighted and wasteful on all fronts.

soaking wool for more than a few minutes, like overnight
If you are using a good wetting agent like synthrapol you can dye without soaking wool at all by adding the wetting agent to the dye pot and throwing in the wool. I do this as a last resort. Using hot water from the tap to soak the wool in makes it even work quickly and efficiently.

shocking wool
Relax. The wool flannel we use to hook with is not susceptible to any harm by changing its temperature quickly. If it includes fibers such as angora, alpaca, or cashmere some mild caution is required.

cleaning dye spoons with salt
cleaning aluminum spoon with salt is not only ineffective, it is corrosive. Try sprinking salt on foil and wait to see what happens if you don't believe me.

Now I say all that to say this... just because someone says so is no reason to do anything.
If you have a practice, say of washing your wool.. you need to say to yourself, does this practise have validity? Am I just doing because someone said so? Does their reasoning include a sound basis? If not I suggest you do what you feel comfortable with. When people are hired to tell people things they often run out of sound bytes. Pun intended.
Beware the expert, they will have dozens of reasons about the ways things should be done.
I prefer to reflect on what could be done.

The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence. He inspires self-distrust. He guides their eyes from himself to the spirit that quickens him. He will have no disciple. ~Amos Bronson Alcott

A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary. ~Thomas Carruthers

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