Dyeing Fleeces

Today has been one heck of a day. After all the wishing and praying, yet again I am not pregnant, a week late but not pregnant. The day started off with terrible pains (all those women out there that have bad periods will know what I mean, to all those men imagine being kicked in the privates every 5 mintues and you will sort of get the point) which gradually worsened throughout the day. By lunchtime I was ready to go back to bed and hide under the covers as the thought of not being pregnant again totally wiped me out, all I wanted to do was cry and sleep and cry and sleep.

After taking a couple of painkillers I decided today would be a good day to throw myself into having a first attempt at dyeing some fleece, so off I went.

Firstly I separated my Texel fleece which I had carded at the weekend into 100g bundles. Why 100g I here you ask, well, I had 6 “quick and easy dyes” which hubby had bought me for Valentine’s, all in different colours (I haven’t got the colours up here as I am in bed but will post the colours another day). I also happened to have had approx 600g of the Texel fleece.

After separating the 100g fleece into bundles of 25g I chose the Turquoise dye to try first. I measured 2g of the dye and mixed it in the large pan (my old pressure cooker which doesn’t work anymore did the trick) and brought it to 50°C (using my trusty thermometer). I then soaked the 25g bundle in some warm water, squeezed the excess water out and placed it in the put. I left it for 30 minutes.

When I went back and lifted the fleece out it hadn’t really taken the dye, so decided to put it in for a further 10 minutes. Again the fleece hadn’t really taken the dye, so after some thought I added 3g of dye into the pot and added some white vinegar (supposedly to help the take up of dye) and left it another 30 minutes. After this time it had taken up some more of the dye and was a very pale turquoise so took it out, rinsed it and left it to drain.

For the second batch of 25g, I decided to leave the dye stock in the pot and added an extra 2g of the dye and again left the fleece in for 30 minutes, this time it had taken up a bit more of the dye but not enough.

The third batch I had more success, after adding a further 2g of dye (now a total of 9g for 75g of fleece) and more white vinegar and then hiking the temperature up to 85°C (I know, I know, I took a risk of felting the fleece), I finally had success. The colour was lovely, the only problem was that it was a totally different colour to the first 2 batches.

The fourth batch again had another 2g of dye (total of 11g for 100g of fleece) and some more white vinegar, was left for 30 minutes at 85°C. It came out perfect, just like the third batch.

On a whim, I decided to place the first two batches back in the pot (I didn’t add any more dye or white vinegar) and left it at 85°C for 40 minutes. Luckily it came out near enough the same colour as the two successful batches. PHEW!!!!!

The said fleece is now drying on a mesh rack and I can’t wait to give it a quick card to see how it actually looks. I think I will use the small hand carders as it won’t need much carding and I don’t really want to lose any of the fleece to the drum carder.

I am a bit hesitant about having another go tomorrow as I don’t really know what amount of dye to use. The 85°C was definitely a success and the white vinegar also helped.

The dye I used was from Forest Fibres on Ebay as were in granular crystals so were easy to use. The instruction sheet wasn’t much help as it didn’t say what temperature to use or how much water to use. It did say to use 5g of the dye to 100g of fleece hence why I used the 2g for 25g of fleece. I researched the temperatures in a natural dye book I had purchased and it had advised to go no higher in temperature than 50°C, but was obviously not high enough. The instruction sheet which came with the dyes did say to simmer the dye stock with the fleece for 30 minutes, but what would you call simmering, to me simmering is when there are gentle bubbles on the surface of the water!!!!

Anyway, once the fleece is dried I will card it and take some pics for you to see and will post the colours etc and further website details for the dyes.

As for now, I am off to read the latest Yarn Forward Magazine which arrived this morning so that I can try and find out where the missing pattern for the free cobweb (cashmere/silk) yarn which I received with my subscription is.

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One thought on “Dyeing Fleeces

  1. sounds all very wonderful 🙂 I’ve always fancied the idea of fleeces and carding and spinning etc. and dyeing. but never done it……

    Have you tried homeopathy for the trying to get pregnant thing? I’m sure you have explored every sort of thing…it’s just that it worked for two women friends of mine.

    good luck……

    Like

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