Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Low Input Washing & Dyeing of Wool - Part II

The second phase of the low input washing and dyeing experiment began with filling two old feed supplement tubs with water from the cistern system, putting in a generous two cups of vinegar and letting it warm up in the sun of a 90 plus degree day. I added the fleece (single fleece split in half), springled the dye on top (Cushings myrtle green and Cushings violet) and let it sit a minute. Then I mixed dye and wool by massaging them together with my hands (wearing gloves and mask because of the dye in powdered form). The point of this was to make the dyes color split to produce more interesting effects. The picture shows the fleeces in the dye pots after having been mixed together. I put the lids on and left it for 3 days. When I opened them up the dye bath was exhausted (no color left in the water). One rinse with warm water from the cistern and spinning out in the washer tub, resulted in minimal to no excess dye coming off (a very good sign). Now it is just time to let it dry and see how it spins up in the next phase.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Low Input Washing & Dyeing Wool - Part I

This is my first try at seeing just how little in external energy inputs I can use to wash and dye wool. The idea was sequential washing and dyeing of the wool as opposed to just washing the wool and then expecting to spin it myself or send it off to be made into roving or yarn. The fleece was another soft Jacob fleece that I "discovered" while organizing/cleaning the basement. It was soaked in rain water from the cistern system (shown in picture) for 3 days (during 90 degree weather). The water was then drained off and used to water plants. This was
followed by a second soak for three days, after which the water was drained off, and the wool spun out in the washer tub to remove as much excess water as possible. At this stage the wool didn't feel too greasy at this point and the water wasn't that dirty either. I have used no soap and the wool seems like it is now ready for dyeing.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Crocheted Roving Rug

This was my first foray into crocheting with roving and I used a plastic size S hook. This black shetland roving was made from fleeces that were a bit tender and hence had more noils and neps than I would want in a roving for spinning. The first rug was bath mat sized, originally measuring 21" x 35". After wetting (done in the shower) and washing with Charlie's Soap, I rinsed it in rain water and tumbled it in the dryer with no heat to get out the excess moisture, then allowed it to air dry. The finished rug is 19.5" x 31" and it is tighter and feels firmer than it did originally, although still quite soft.