I enjoy knitting sweaters more than any thing else. This requires about 2 pounds of fiber to be spun. What is the best dye method to get a more solid color without so much striation? How do I do this?
The best way to avoid the striation is to card or comb the batches together after you have dyed the fiber. Dyeing that much all in one batch is a bit difficult and still would not result in a solid color throughout the fiber.
1) Divide fiber into managable batches for the dyeing.
2) After dyeing, card or comb each batch by itself.
3) Divide each batch into 8 or more sections.
4) Mix the sections up between the batches. One way to do this is to lay each batch out in a row, and the next batch above it, making a grid of all the fiber. Take the first column and move each piece up one row. Take column two and move each piece up two rows, and so on. Then card each row together.
5) Repeat the splitting, mixing and carding operation until the color is more homogeneous.
But I have to say I agree with Peggy, I really like the striated look!
Wow! that's a lot of carding. Sounds like a drum carder could help a lot. Thanks Nutty for your help once again.
Yes, it is a lot of work and definitely best done on a drum carder. When we really want something, though, it seems there is always work involved!
Nutty, would Peter Teal's technique of measuring out specific amounts of fiber and combing them , then planking and combing etc, also work? I know his methods are very specific and he measures everything, but I wondered if this would give a more consistent result.
As long as you keep the batches of combed fiber separate, break them up into smaller amounts and mix up those smaller amounts each time you load the comb/hackle, then yes, it will work. As Elaine noticed, this kind of opperation works best with the tools that let you get the most done in a smaller amount of time, so this would be best with a larger hackle if combing, or a drum carder if carding. It's not that you can't do with the hand combs or carders, it will just take a lot longer that way! The more times you mix and recomb/card, the more uniform the color will be throughout the fiber.
No one has mentioned this as yet, but could you not just spin up the yarn, and then dye the hanks using the same recipe for each batch. There might be slight color variances (i.e. lighter and darker) but it should not be too pronounced.