Dharma Acid Dyes Part 1

The first thing I must emphasize is that I am not scientific about this.  I don’t really measure and I don’t keep great notes. And my camera is not a fan of purples so colors are somewhat off. I mixed up dye solutions of 1/8 tsp dye to 1 Cup of water and poured splashes of that out into jars, about 1/8 -1/4 cup of solution for each dye.  I also added a splash of vinegar and did all my heating in pint canning jars in the microwave.

Yarn is 8-10 yard mini-skeins of the grey CVM handspun that I’ve showed before.



These are the colors straight from the jars so are the most saturated possible colors.

  1. Cherry Bomb – a lovely red with a raspberry tinge.
  2. True Turquoise – Lighter and bluer than I expected.  And seemed a bit fiddly in getting it to strike.  May need more acid than the rest.
  3. Aubergine – Deep purple with a brown tone.  Really gorgeous in person.
  4. Oxblood Red – not as deep red as I would have thought.  More old blood.
  5. Berry Crush – deep, lovely violet.  A very rich color.
  6. Bright Aqua – Bright blue-green.
  7. Teddy Bear Brown – solid dark brown.  I actually can’t wait to pair this with the aqua or turquoise.


Next I started blending.  Just pouring colors together or adding a pinch of dry powder to the liquid.  Again, no measuring.


  1. Berry Crush/Bright Aqua – dark lilac.
  2. Aubergine/True Turquoise – Just lightened the Aubergine a little and took out the brown tones.
  3. Cherry Bomb/Teddy Bear Brown – Rich wine.
  4. Cherry Bomb/Turquoise – Struck unevenly.  Still quite pretty


  1. Cherry Bomb/Aubergine – Quite similar to the last one, just more purple.  It seems that Cherry Bomb may have broke in both of these.
  2. OxBlood Red/True Turquoise – I confess that the Oxblood confuses me.  It doesn’t blend like I’d expect.
  3. Berry Crush/Teddy Bear Brown – Plum
  4. Aubergine/Bright Aqua – Dark Blue-purple
  5. Aubergine/Berry Crush – A richer, slightly redder version of the last one.


  1. Berry Crush/True/Turquoise – Lilac.
  2. Cherry Bomb/ Midnight Blue – Gorgeous deep wine.  Makes me think of Vampires
  3. Oxblood red/ Midnight Blue – Dusty Purple
  4. Bright Aqua/ Deep Magenta – Sort of a cross between raspberry and plum


  1. Berry Crush/Midnight Blue – This is what I think of when I think of purple.
  2. True Turquoise/Poinsettia – Red with hints of raspberry
  3. Berry Crush/Brilliant Yellow – Burnt Orange, which I like, surprisingly, as I don’t usually like orange
  4. Cherry Bomb/Midnight Blue – Wine red with bits of blue-purple.  The Cherry broke again
  5. True Turquoise/ Deep Magenta – Purpley magenta


  1. Oxblood Red/ Brilliant Yellow – Almost Pumpkin pie orange with hints of yellow.
  2. Bright Aqua/Poinsettia –  Light Burgundy

Plying on antique spinning wheels

I have only one working wheel, an antique double drive.  She’s got her quirks but she spins what I want to spin.  One of her quirks is that she absolutely despises spinning counter clockwise.  She will throw the drive band every 5 seconds and that’s not an exaggeration. This makes plying….difficult, if not impossible.

I can’t take credit for this solution.  I first saw it on the Ravelry group Antique Spinning Wheels.

I have a special longer plying drive band.  It’s longer, because I have to add twists at the bobbin and whorl to allow them to turn counter clockwise while the wheel spins clockwise.

The first picture is my normal spinning drive band.  The next two are different angles of the plying drive band.  Notice that it is twisted so that the parts that come up and over the top of the wheel are away from me as I sit at the wheel, while the parts that go under the wheel are closer to me. This is how it works for me and the alignment of the whorl/bobbin to the wheel (which is slightly off and the wheel is slightly warped too.)  I don’t think it really matters which way it’s twisted as long as the twist is there.

I use cotton yarn as a drive band, nothing special.  This just happens to be some I dyed and didn’t like the colors.

I do advise moving the MOA as close to the wheel as possible while you put on the drive band.  It’s pretty fiddly to get to sit just right, at least for me.

The drive band that is not in use is just tied up and left to hang from the upright, out of the way but handy for when I want to switch.

Spinning FOs


No yardage for any of these.  They’re still a bit damp and need to go back on the wire racks in front of the fan until at least tomorrow.

7 skeins of Patrick the CVM in my default 2 ply fingering weight to sport weight.  I now have enough to start planning my dyeing for Sing a Song of Sixpence.   I do have to wait until after I test the new dyes to really pick colors but I can figure out yardage to dye in each color now.

One very bright pink skein of Hampshire.  Spindle spun very roughly, although it still averages fingering to sport weight.  It’s very coarse and will be used for weaving.  I have more in blue and green already spun and a lot more of this fiber waiting to be spun.  It was Koolaid dyed in the lock and spun that way as well.

2 skeins of art yarn of oven dyed in the lock Teeswater/Romney cross. Finger picked and spun however it ended up.  There are bit of fiber sticking out everywhere and it is nowhere near smooth.  Plied with a gold thread.  I’ll probably also use this for weaving.  I was despairing of ever being able to use this fleece.  It was one of the first fleeces I bought, before I discovered my love of fine wools.  I spun some up trying for smooth like I do the CVM and if fought me every step of the way.  I did manage to knit a pair of mittens but didn’t like knitting it at all.  I have one more skein of the smooth-ish yarn to use somehow but the rest of the fleece is all waiting to be spun into this art yarn.  I may actually pick up a long wool fleece this year specifically for this sort of yarn.

Knitting WIPs


Not a lot to show.  I’ve been spinning and plying most of this week.

A couple more inches done on the Dressing Gown.  I have 43 rows plus however many rows it takes to get to 48 inches until I divide for fronts and back.  To be honest, for the longest time it seemed like I’d never get this far.  This has been on the needles since October 6, 2014.  I’m pretty sure I don’t have enough yarn to finish.  I can probably do the main piece – body and sleeves.  Maybe the collar (probably not) and definitely not the edging.  I still have more to ply but I’m waiting until I get closer to needing it.  Mainly because I don’t have a place to store it once it’s plied.

A spinning side note:  I have 10 full size skeins plied, washed and drying  My dyes are scheduled to arrive next Tuesday.  I have a small pile of mini skeins waiting for the dyes and a few more mini skeins to ply.


I had a family thing this weekend and took my box of knits along.  This is the box of things I’ve knit because I wanted to knit them but have no use for.  One person can only use so many hats, cowls, shawls, etc.  Or they didn’t turn out to be something I liked.  I sold a few things to assorted relatives.

I’ve decided to spend a bit of this money on more acid dyes (and save the rest to buy fleeces next year.)  I like Dharma acid dyes.

I already own:

  • True Black
  • Deep Magenta
  • Peacock Blue
  • Brilliant yellow
  • Royal Purple
  • Deep Maroon
  • Midnight blue
  • Emerald Green
  • Poinsettia

I’ve decided to buy:

  • Oxblood Red
  • True Turquoise
  • Teddy Bear Brown
  • Berry Crush
  • Cherry Bomb
  • Aubergine
  • Bright Aqua

I’ve got a dyer’s notebook with the colors I already own plus some mixes of them on white fiber.  I currently don’t have any white and I usually dye grey or overdye colors anyway.  I’ve decided to take the leftover singles from plying Patrick the CVM and ply them into mini skeins on a spindle.


I always have leftovers from one single when I ply.  I was going to ply these all together into one skein after I finish spinning the whole fleece but I think this is a better use.  I’ll have more soon once I ply the pile of singles I’m currently accumulating.

Knitting WIPs


I need to make bigger progress markers.  You can barely see them. I circled them to make them more noticeable.

Lady of the Blue Forest – about an inch more.  Just haven’t been in a knitting mood.

Dressing Gown – several inches done, only 70 or so rows until I split for the armholes.  This is made from reclaimed yarn – cashmere, merino, wool, I think there may even be a bit of silk and some acrylic.  It’s all from black and charcoal grey sweaters.  I strand from each sweater – 8 strands in all – dk weight. Plied on my wheel.  When one sweater runs out I add the next of a similar color – fiber content can be different.  Over all it makes for a marled yarn that’s quite heavy.

This thing will weigh a ton but be oh so warm.  So far I’ve got 13 sweaters for it, although I’ve not finished plying it all.  I’m not sure I have enough.  I chose black and charcoal grey because I was always finding sweaters in those colors.  Once I started this project those colors became scarce.  It’s always that way for me.  I see lots of something in the thrift stores until I want to buy one and then I never see them.

Even though this is all endless stockinette (I altered the original pattern because I didn’t like knitting the columns of eyelets) I’m quite excited to be knitting on it again.  It’s several feet long already so covers my lap nicely and keeps me warm while I knit.  Oh and have I mentioned that I’ve never knit a sweater before?  This is essentially a really long sweater.  And I also have almost no interest in knitting a regular length sweater.  When this is done I’ll probably live in it most of the winter.  It’ll be long enough to wrap my feet in when I’m curled up in my living room chair.

Spinning WIPs


I was in a spinning mood this week and managed 5 singles to go with the 9 singles already done for a total of 13 singles waiting to be plied.  I ply on the same wheel that I spin on, which has a small bobbin, so my singles are 45-50 grams so I have room to fit all of it when I ply it.

Fiber: Patrick the CVM 2016 – processed from raw

I want to spin more but yesterday my body was giving me the unmistakable signals of “Keep doing this and you’ll injure yourself.”  So I’ll take a break from it today.  Which is a pity because I’ve finally got the wheel spinning wonderfully.  She’s a temperamental old wheel and I started having problems with her halfway through TdF back in July.  I’ve been fiddling with her ever since, including oiling her thoroughly but it was just this week that she started behaving.  I think she doesn’t like the summer heat.

I’m waiting to ply because plying is quite a production for me.  My antique wheel has fits about turning counter-clockwise so I have an extra long drive band for plying so I can add some twists to allow the wheel to turn clockwise while the bobbin and whorl go counter-clockwise.  I’ll take pics and post when I set it up to ply.

I’ve made a pretty good dent in the nests that are waiting to be spun but I still have some fiber left to be combed.  I might work on that today.  I already have 8 finished skeins, the singles above will make another 6 and I’d guess I have enough fiber for 6-8 more skeins.  This was a huge fleece.  I didn’t weigh it but I’m guessing it was 13 lbs or so raw, after skirting.

This is my second year with Patrick’s fiber.  Last year I got half of his fleece and fell in love.  So this year I went for the whole thing and asked to reserve it each year from now on.  My shepherdess is great about things like that.