Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Don't drink the koolaid

Use it to dye your wool instead.

Here's some white wool I got cheap on ebay. It came back from the mill with more VM (aka bits of hay and straw) in it than the owner felt like messing with. Since I spin with a hand spindle, it's easier to pick out the straw bits as you go than if you spin on a wheel, so I got a lot of wool for a nice price.

I put the wool in a pan on the stove; you can get a lot in because it really collapses when wet. (Just think of a fluffy dog or cat in the bath.) I heated it up slowly and then added some 'lemonade' flavored koolaid - unsweetened! dissolved in vinegar. After that had a chance to 'steep' for a while, I added some orange dye; this is Paas easter egg dye. I drizzled it over the yellow wool in irregular patterns. Weirdly, the colors don't mix much.

Here I'm dipping some of the water out of the pot to see if it's clear (and it is) - all the color has gone into the wool.

Draining in a collander in the sink.

A closeup of the dried wool. This is the degree of varigation I was actually striving for, so I feel lucky.

Dyeing wool versus dyeing yarn:

This brings up an interesting point - do you dye before or after you spin? I chose to 'dye in the wool' because if you dye the yarn and don't like the color distribution, too bad - what you get is what you get. But with this, I can either spin varigated or heathered yarn. I'll show you how later.


Val S. said...

Please make sure and post pics of the yarn you get from this. I love these colors, and thanks for the pics!

Dora Renee' Wilkerson said...

Yes, I dye my wool before I spin it (only because my children love to help with the kool aid.. So, my wool never sits long without being dyed!)

Dora Renee' Wilkerson

UniquelymeNana said...

Hi there,

I just love the effect you achieved with the roving. I was wondering could I do this with pencil roving?

Lissa said...


I dye in the wool (or silk, or alpaca) because I like a more marled, rather than striped effect in my yarns.