Last Easter, I decided that instead of dumping our egg dye down the sink, I would use it to dye wool and see what would happen. I had some very inexpensive domestic wool top that I could use for the experiment, so that if it went badly, tossing out the wool wouldn't give me a guilt trip over frugality.
I pulled off an arm's length of wool, divided it in half and set the pieces to soak for about a half hour in warm water:
I drained the water and gently pressed out any excess water from the wool. Then I put each piece of the damp wool into a gallon-sized ziploc bag. I drizzled dye colors randomly over each piece of wool. I had six colors of dye, so I used the warm colors (red, pink, yellow) on the fiber in one bag, and the cool colors (green, blue, purple) on the other. Here is one of the bags with pink drizzed over the fiber:
I heat set the dye using the microwave. I put a microwave safe small glass bowl with water in the microwave and laid one of the bags flat, leaving the zipper edge of the bag open. I ran the microwave for 3 to 5 minutes on half power, then checked to see if the dye had exhausted by touching the hot fiber with a piece of paper towel. I repeated the heating until the paper towel didn't have any color on it:
The second bag of fiber received the same heat-setting treatment. Next, I rinsed the wool in very hot water. I ran the hottest water from the tap into a large bowl, then gently slid the hot pieces of dyed fiber into the water. I let them sit there until they were cool enough for me to handle with my fingers. I drained the first rinse water and rinsed them again in the same way using warm water (matching the water temperature from the tap to how warm the fiber felt on my hand).
Finally, I drained the last rinse water and let the pieces dry on one of my stackable sweater dryer racks. The pieces of dyed wool were great! I loved the variegated colors and there was no felting or matting of the fiber:
For spinning them, I stripped each top into four pieces and use one of each dye lot together to form four little nests for my spinning:
I spun a single using my wheel and a semiwoolen drafting style, filling one bobbin:
After letting the singles harden on the bobbin overnight, I n-plied them to create the final skein of 3-ply yarn. The final yarn is very lofty and bouncy. And now I have finally calculated the stats on this skein, so the Easter 2011 yarn is no longer a spinning WIP!
1.6 ounces, 11 - 12 WPI (worsted to aran weight), 86 yards