Dyeing > Examples of Space Dyeing
This section details some of the ways a weaver can use space dyeing of yarn to achieve an interesting woven fabric. A number of samples of different formats and fibres were acid dyed for use as samples for a course on Gutter Dyeing held at Kennet Valley Guild. Acid dyes are suitable for wool and similar fibres as well as silk but are not suitable for cotton and manmade fibres.
Linda Scurr provided two lots of fibre to be dyed with acid dyes, one of Merino (Figure 1) and one Wensleydale (Figure 2).
Figure 1: Merino tops dyed, handspun and knitted (Linda Scurr)
Figure 2: Wensleydale fibre, dyed, handspun and knitted (Linda Scurr)
Linda Scurr also provided some handspun which is mostly Wensleydale but has other types of wool in it. This has been space dyed and some of the results knitted up (Figure 3). Other handspun from Linda Scurr has been space dyed with three colours, grey, violet and teal (Figure 3A).
Figure 3a: Handspun skein space dyed in blue, cyan and violet
Figure 3b: Handspun skein space dyed in grey, blue and violet. A knitted sample from this dyed handspun is also shown.
Small Skeins of Hybrid Yarn
Six different hybrid fancy yarns (obtained from commercial sources) were space dyed, three in yellow/blue/green (Figure 4) and three in orange/yellow/chestnut brown (Figure 5). Particularly obvious in Figure 5 is the fact that the yarns are viscose or similar and the dyes do not take at all well. A dyeing class of embroiderers and quilters used some of their dyed skeins to create quilting/embroidery. Figure 6 shows one example.
Figure 4: Hybrid yarns space dyed in yellow, blue and green
Figure 5: Hybrid yarns space dyed in yellow, orange and chestnut.
Figure 6: `Window on Petra` Embroidery in space dyed threads by Dorothy Eggleton
Dyed Weft Yarns
Three skeins were wound, each 6 foot round and they were dyed yellow/orange/chestnut brown on three different repeat lengths (pitches). The pitches were 6 foot (long pitch), one foot (medium pitch) 8 inches short pitch (Figure 7). These were used as weft on white wool (16/2) warp 12.5 inches wide (Figure 8 to Figure 10). The samples look quite nice, slightly different from each other but no 'structure' was present. Two further skeins were wound and dyed equal lengths of yellow and chestnut brown. The length of one was equal to the width of the warp (12.5 inches) The second skein was wound as 10.5 inches long (Figure 11). Two skeins were dyed with bright colours. These were woven on the same wool warp as in the previous section (Figure12).
Figure 7: Three skeins space dyed in orange/yellow/chestnut brown. Clockwise from lower left. Long, medium and short pitch
Figure 8: Woven and knitted samples using long pitch
Figure 9: Woven sample – medium pitch
Figure 10: Woven and knitted samples – short pitch
Figure 11: Lower skein pitch 12.5 inch. Upper skein pitch 10.5 ins. Dyed with two colours
Figure 12: Woven from the skeins of Figure 11, Upper 10.5 inch pitch, Lower 12.5 pitch which is much more interesting
Space Dyed Weft of Silk
All other warps shown here were woven as balanced weaves. This one is unbalanced. A warp of commercial silk (60/2) was wound using two shades of pale brown to a length of 2.5 m. The sett was 20epi, in other words, grossly under-sett.. The weft was Debbie Bliss Pure Silk which wove up at 15ppi. This weft yarn had been space dyed in chestnut and scarlet. One whole skein of 50 gms was dyed in lengths of 6 inches, alternating the two colours (Figure 13). Two smaller skeins 24 inch long each were also wound. One was dyed in two 12 inch section, the other in 4 six inch sections. The woven up samples are shown in Figure 14 to Figure 16. The scarf shown in Figure 16 was displayed at the Association's Exhibition in Liverpool in July/August 2008.
Up to this point all wefts have been space dyed and warps are white.
Figure 13: Skein in 6 inch sections
Figure 14: Woven with weft of Figure 13
Figure 15: Sample woven with two 12 in sections alternating in two colours
Figure 16: Final silk scarf. Body uses skein from Figure 13 and the ends use that of Figures 14 and 15
Space Dyed Warps
For an example of standard space dyed warps, two warps 2.5m long of 16/2 wool at 20 epi were wound. These were dyed identically in Bright Kelly Green and two tones of violet (Figure 17). One of the two warps was woven up using the same wool as warp. In this case a 3:1 twill was used. (Figure 18).
Chained and Space Dyed Warp
Two warps 2.5m long of wool at 20 epi were wound. These were tightly chained and then dyed identically in green and violet (Figure 19). One was woven up (Figure 20).
Plaited and Space Dyed Warps
Six warps 2.5m long of 16/2 wool at 20epi were wound. Each was one third the width of a whole warp, two lots were tightly plaited and then dyed scarlet (Figure 21. One of the two warps was woven up (Figure 22).
Figure 21: Plaited and dyed warp. One end has been unravelled to see the dyeing effect
Figure 22: Warp of Figure 21 woven with a white weft
Two warps were first soaked in water, one end was clamped and the other end twisted very hard then clamped at the second end. The resulting tight 'rope' was then tied tightly with a single length of string from one end to the other and then back again crossing the first string. The rope was then space dyed. Two warps were made. One was of silk singles (10/1) and is shown in Figure 23. This is showed woven up in Figure 24. The weft was silk 16/2 from Texere, a very nice yarn. The other was of bourrette (Texere Chinese silk 317 which is 5,700m/kg). The natural colour is brownish. This wove up nicely using the same undyed Bourrette as the weft and gave a heathery appearance (Figure 25).