Sunday, July 26, 2009
Making Lemonade from Lemons - A new Custom Fiber Blend
Recently I received a custom order from a Canadian customer. Two colorways, 8 oz each on merino roving. They use the rovings to make felted soaps. One of the colorways they ordered was my Oahu Sunset which consists of pink, hot fuchsia, yellow sun, vermillion and burnt orange. I generally dye my rovings 4 oz at a time in an enamel coated roasting pan and "bake" them in the over for almost an hour and a half. I use "acid" dyes - the acid that makes them react and set the dye is white vinegar. The vinegar has started to corrode the finish on the dye pots and sometimes I get funny reactions to dye powders on those areas. This time the fuchsia powder drifted on the bottom of the dye pot and combined with the other powders. Sometimes this is okay - the resulting colors blend beautifully with the rest and are just fine. The fuchsia must have some blue in the dye. This time it created purple where it blended with pink and green where it blended with the yellow. This might have been okay but the green was sometimes "muddy" and dark looking and looked brownish.
I took photos (above) and sent them to the client, offering her a discount on those rovings or offering to do them again in a different dyepot. She opted for re-dyeing them. I redyed them in my stainless steel dye pot and eliminated the fuchsia dye powder. Those new rovings turned out absolutely stunning and we were all thrilled. That still left me with 8 oz of merino rovings that I really didn't want to sell as "seconds" in my etsy store. So, I went through my stash of fibers and found some custom dyed mohair roving and tussah silk in coordinating colors and I blended all those fibers together on my hand crank drum carder to make these gorgeous Custom Fiber Blend batts for spinning, felting and fiber art. I emailed some photos to the Canadian customer, just so she knew that those original rovings hadn't gone to waste. She emailed me back saying "Those are soooo beautiful Brenda! Nice lemonade ; - ) Well done!" I have always said there are never dyeing mistakes, only fiber art you didn't plan on.
These Custom Fiber Blend batts are available in my Etsy store. I made and listed two batts, each weighing 2 oz and I have enough fibers left that I can make at least 4 more batts just like these.