This weekend when my Best B came over to celebrate my birthday, she brought me a dream come true. For awhile I've been thinking about what it would be like to process my own fleece, dye it, spin it and use it. I read about it, dreamt about it and waited for my chance to try it. For my birthday, she brought the opportunity to my door. When she first arrived, we sat down to have a late lunch and she let me open my present. It was a set of Ashford hand carders and 3 bags of wool she had cleaned and dyed. There was also three jars of Jacquard dyes in Red, Blue and Yellow. I was so excited I could barely contain myself! I was immediately taught how to hold the carders and pull the wool through and comb it. Then she showed me how to roll the wool off into a rolag so I could spin it.
We had been planning to dye yarn for awhile and so after lunch we started our dyeing experiments. We started with 4 hanks of Knitpicks Bare fingering weight yarn, that had been soaking for about 8 hours. We mixed some bottles of Kool-aid in the kitchen and went to work in the front yard.
This is me and Son #1 painting stripes on our yarn with a bottle mixed with 4 packets of Grape Kool-Aid.
This is what we steamed the yarn in.
Here's B and Son #1 painting the yarn half with 1 bottle mixed with 6 packets of Lemonade and 4 packets of Strawberry and half with 1 bottle mixed with 4 packets of pink Lemonade, 1 Black Cherry Kool-Aid and 1/8 tsp Blue Jacquard Acid Dye.
Here we are folding it up for the steamer.
This yarn was done with 1 bottle mixed with 6 packets of Lemonade and 4 packets of Strawberry Kool-Aid, 1 bottle mixed with 2 packets of Lemonade Kool-Aid, and 1 bottle mixed with 4 packets of Strawberry.
This is me and Son #2 squirting yarn with 1 bottle mixed with 4 packets of Tropical Punch Kool-Aid.
Here they are in all their glory, hanging out to dry.
My patio smelled so good from all of the Kool-Aid.
Then we decided to go in and rest for a little bit, all of that excitement takes a lot out of you. So I carded and spun some of the wool she brought me in my present. I wanted to see what it looked like so I knitted this. I was just playing with a few twists and did a little stockinette and a little garter. I think I'm just going to spin up the rest of the fiber to finish this up, then after blocking, hang it on my wall as a happy memory.
The next day we got up and went kayaking around Carlsbad Lagoon. This was not my idea, it turns out my Best B is ambitious in more than just her knitting. I was a little hesitant at first, but had a really good time and it wasn't really that difficult. We didn't tip over or get stuck and I would definitely do it again. Afterwards we stopped at one of my favorite places for brunch and came home to continue the fiber madness. All my boys were out for the day so it was just the two of us and we decided to do the dirty work of sifting through the mega box of fleece her brother had sent her. We knew it was going to take a lot of time as the person who had done the shearing had never done it before and was basically doing it to give the fiber. The sheep that the wool had come from were not kept well and we knew that our work was cut out for us.
Yes, that is poo. And hay and other things. We figured that it was about as bad as it can get, and if we could pull this off we could do anything.
This is what the wool looked like as we pulled it apart and examined it. This was the good stuff.
As of right now, it's in the garage in a bucket soaking. Tonight I will change the water out and soak it again for another day and see what it looks like tomorrow night.
After sifting through the fleece and getting enough to soak, we decided to try the Acid dyes while the kids were out of the house. So we dyed two more skeins of yarn . One was Chocolate Brown and Pink and I'm going to call that one Neopolitan, and the other was Blue and Yellow which I think looks like a Canary. This is the money shot with our weekend of dyeing in one spot.
Yup, a girl couldn't have asked for more. I am so grateful to have a best friend like my Best B at my side for all of this stuff. She has been a wonderful teacher and inspiration.