Today I embarked on a creative journey: to take raw, organic fiber (Rambouillet sheep's roving) and hand-dye it using the trusty Kool-Aid method. Yep, Kool-Aid. I acquired a rather large volume of the roving for free from the kind lady that sold me my beloved Lendrum Spinning Wheel. At the time of purchase, I was an inexperienced spinning wheel spinner (I wasn't bad on a drop spindle, though), and she gave me the roving for practice. So since I had the day off of work and the house pretty much to myself, I decided that today was as good a day as ever to give hand-dyeing a go. Here's how it went:
First, I measured out 1 1/2 oz. of roving.
|Undyed roving, after shearing, cleaning, and carding.|
Next, I filled a large pot with water and added a splash of vinegar. I heard that adding vinegar would result in deeper color saturation. Once the water came to a low boil, I removed it from the heat source and mixed in 1 package each of Cherry and Orange Kool-Aid. Then I gently submerged the fiber into the Kool-Aid bath. After about a 45 minute soak, the water left in the pot was clear so I knew my fiber had drank up all of the cherry/orange color mix.
|Doesn't look very appetizing, I know.|
I then emptied the pot into a colander I had placed in the sink and gently squeezed as much excess water as I could from the wet, fibery glob. The last step was to lay out the newly dyed fiber on a towel to air dry. You can see from the picture below that some of the fiber soaked up more color than the rest. I surmised this was because I left the fiber alone as it soaked without rotating it in the pot so that the color would coat more evenly. I attempted to fix this issue with the next batch.
|Newly dyed fiber with an (unintentional) ombre effect.|
This time I rotated the fiber a few times during it's 45 minute bath and voila!..an evenly coated batch. Yay! I was careful not to agitate it too much otherwise it would felt, and we don't want that.
I had time to do one more batch, so I decided to see what would happen without adding the vinegar. For the final batch I used about 1/2 cup of store brand grape drink mix. I was going for a real vibrant purple, which I unfortunately did not achieve. As you can see below, the color hardly saturated the fiber at all. So I've concluded that I will be using vinegar in my Kool-Aid dyeing projects from now on.
|This was supposed to be a rich purple. :(|
|My beloved Lendrum Single Treadle Spinning Wheel. love!|