I've had a wonderful morning! Inspired by the work of other local crafters, I dug out the dyes I bought at Woolfest yesterday and prepared them into bottles of dye stock. I'm glad I did this yesterday as it took longer than I anticipated, especially as I was completely paranoid about getting the kitchen covered in multi-coloured splotches. Everything was carefully covered in polythene and old curtains and it went without mishap.
This morning, after J had left for work (he really doesn't need to know how messy this could be. It wouldn't be good for his stress levels ;)), I prepared my working area again.
I dug out our old vegetable steamer and some new microwavable bowls I bought from Discounts UK (99p for a set of 3).
I set my wool top (some Falkland, some Blue Faced Leicester and some alpaca) off to soak in a mix of water, white vinegar and a little washing up liquid.
I wrestled with a new pack of cling film and eventually laid out two lengths on a damp surface. I put the wet, but squeezed out, fibre on top, snaking it backwards and forwards and poured on the acid dyes.)
Then I wrapped it up in cling film, massaged it a bit to spread the dye and put it in the steamer for an hour. I did three lots using these colours in various ways; one deep, saturated batch, another lighter, more dilute batch and a spt dyed batch.
Then I did it again with a different set of colours.
I put this lot in the microwave for 5 minutes.
Yesterday, I did some more prep. I had a cone of wool and silk yarn from Alexanders of Selkirk. Can't remember where it came from (eBay or charity shop). It was a bit grubby on the edges and had the spinning oil still in it. So, I skeined it up and washed it in hanks.
It bloomed nicely and feels much better.
I soaked half of it and dyed it a kind of variegated grey colour.
The other half, I left natural. I see more stripes in my future.
After all the fibre had cooled down, I rinsed it until the water ran clear and set up an improvised drying rack in the garden.
It's all still out there and seems to drying nicely. Pictures of the finished product to follow when it's all dry!