Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Behold - the Power of the Sun!


I'm not usually in the habit of leaving trashbags in my backyard...but seeing as I live someplace with abundant solar energy, I figured I ought to give it a try rather than heating up my house while pursuing fiber activities....Incidentally, I think I need to figure out what types of "wrapping" store the most heat...

Look! inside one of the bags, this was the temperature reading in mid afternoon. Based on the initial experimentation, yarn wrapped in plastic, left in roasting pans inside a black plastic bag does not retain heat as well as yarn wrapped in plastic, placed in roasting pans, which are then placed inside a monstrous dyepot that has been covered in black plastic. LOL.

I also have to admit to not knowing for certain if it did get hot enough in the wrapped packages to really set the dye. I unwrapped one package, set it for rinsing and saw a tiny bit of bleed out of color....and decided to steam all of the packages for a half hour just to make sure. Even after the steaming though, that one colorway still bled just a tiny bit...so I may have just put in too much dye....

Ah well, I do love me my experiments. Does anyone know what temperature is actually needed to set dye? I know people will dye in a dedicated crock pot - and I've discovered that crock pots can range in temperature from 180-280 F....Somehow, I don't think I'll be successful in getting temperatures quite that high by just harnessing the power of the sun...*sigh* anyone know where I can get a digital temperature probe for cheap? ;)


Yeah, that's a fair number of skeins there...one of these days I'll get them skeined and the shop updated :)

3 comments:

Sundara said...

I always figure that for wool, anything over 175 sets the dye, since when I dye a blend of wool and silk, silk can't be heated over 184, and I try to keep it between 175-180, and it seems pretty set.

I use thermometers I get at Williams and Sonoma. They aren't the cheapest, but they work well, as you can program to beep when it reaches a certain temperature. I like it as I don't have to sit there and monitor my pots to make sure nothing overheats. You can get similar ones here:

http://www.cooking.com/products/shprodde.asp?SKU=109731

Marianne said...

What a great idea! I live in Florida and it's been summer here since, oh, April. *grin* Solar energy, here I come!

alison said...

Gorgeous yarns! The yarns in your store are just beautiful. You're very talented. And I'm very jealous! ;0)