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Fleeces: Washing, Carding and Dyeing

I finally dragged out all my fiber the other day, just to survey what I have (which is, of course, way more than I ought to have). I carded a lot of Romney (with more to go), washed the rest of my first Mendenhall Merino fleece, washed my Gotland samples, and dyed some of the carded Romney and my uncarded but washed BFL. I also played with blending some of the Romney, BFL (some I already had in batts) and angora.

I’m sort of getting into a routine with the washing: upping the temp for the tankless heater, using mesh laundry bags to keep the fiber contained, etc. I used the Unicorn fiber wash for the Merino and the Gotland. I love that stuff. Smells and works great. New to my fiber processing is having the front load washing machine with the spin only cycle — I just spun the fiber in my washer rather than twirling the bag full of fiber up on my deck. I then let it dry in the sun most of the afternoon, finishing it up on the interior rack in the dryer (also a new thing). (Both our old washer and dryer died within the past 6 or 7 months and had to be replaced. The new ones aren’t all that fancy but do have some nice, fiber-processing-friendly features).

My first foray into dyeing involved a hotplate (purchased with this specific use in mind), a large enameled pot, vinegar and Jacquard dyes. I used a combination of sapphire and navy for the BFL and sapphire for the Romney (the batts I dyed were originally medium gray with brown tips). I’m cautiously optimistic for how it’s turning out (and yes, I’ll take some pics). The Romney color looks very similar to the Storm Petrel colorway of Virtual Yarns that I bought for Dave’s sweater (still to be made). I eventually want to make some nice heathery colors as well as subtle semi-solids.

1 comment… add one
  • Kathy May 25, 2009, 11:40 am

    Oh my goodness, what fun. This whole fiber thing is like a black hole as far as I’m concerned. There’s no end to how into it you can get!
    Can’t wait to see the pics. The sapphire sounds super pretty.

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