Baa-me Kniits

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Mystery Wool Dying

This weekend was our annual get together for our Fibreartists Group 'The Coffee Drop Crafters'.  We stay at one of our members houses on her Goat Stud and spend a bit more time than we usually do mingling,  chatting, spinning, sharing ideas and having a meal together.  When we meet fortnightly at Lake Eacham we often miss all of the members as many just come for a few hours either in the morning or the afternoon.  This weekend is a great time to catch up for us all.

This year our lovely Ali offered to show us how she does her Rainbow Dying.   Boy did we have some fun....

Rainbow Dying is a method of dying wool all in the one pot and ending up with a mix of colours like a rainbow.  By playing around with the colour mixes you are able to produce a wide variety of colour combinations.   Its a lot of fun because every time is different and its a bit of a mystery as to what will come out of the pot.

Preparing the wool for dying....

This was not a method I have tried before and it involves damp wool and hardly any water.  I usually dye in a deep pot with a lot of liquid or I handpaint my wool so I was a bit nervous about burning my wool.

After getting the pot up to heat it is left to sit and cool down and for the dye to soak into the wool, then it is rinsed....

Awesome Colours Ali!! ....

We use a lot of dye for this method but none of it is wasted.  After the first batch of wool is taken out another lot is added to the same dye bath and it is heated up again.  If any colour is still in the pot after that another batch of wool can be added.  Look at the colours that were made from three different batches of wool in the same dye bath.  First the Rainbow, then the Blue and finally the Lavender colour.  What fun! ....

This is the wool that I dyed this weekend....

A commercial wool in a natural white colour that took up more dye than any of our fleeces or tops.  Look how dark it is! ....

Some plaited roving.  The one on the left was at the bottom of the pot so the colours are deeper while the one on the right was placed on top of the first skein and does not take up as much of the dye so it is lighter in shades....

This roving was on top of my commercial wool and look how light this has turned out.  Its amazing how different wool takes up the colours....

These are a mixture of sheep fleece (the really crimpy stuff) and Angora Goat  fleece.  Look how shiny that looks with the colour!  Blue/Green....


I added some of my own spun yarn to a pot of my friend which was all yellow and red, she wanted to try for some tomato red hopefully?  My yarn was on the top and I got amazing colours!   How nice is this....can't wait to make something out of these colours.  Not a very big skein though so not sure what it will end up being? ....

I took this photo at the end of Sunday and it made me laugh because it looks like 'Fire in my Belly', doing this workshop certainly gave me some new ideas for my dying and it was such fun to spend the weekend with my friends instead of just a few hours once a fortnight. It certainly inspired us all....

Finally these are the colours I was playing around with during the week with hot and cold dyes.  A sorbet!  I certainly have enough spinning to get on with now   :-)

I hope you all had a lovely weekend, I certainly did!


  1. Goodness, but that all looks inspiring stuff Jenni. Great colours, and as a none-spinner/dyer it is fascinating to read about. What a brilliant photo of you with "fire in your belly" - one for the album!

  2. Wow Jenni! Those are really gorgeous colours. I'm looking forward to seeing the fleece spun into yarn! And how lovely to be able to spend a weekend with good crafting friends!

  3. Wow, that is just amazing! Look at all those glorious colours you've ending up with. Definitely a lot of spinning to keep you busy for a while now! Will be interesting to see the patterns that come out when you knit them all up :)

  4. Wow Jenni! You have been having so much fun, what a lovely experience! The colours are wonderful, thank you so much for sharing this inspiring post with us:)

  5. Wow what beautiful colours. The different way the yarns have accepted the colours is amazing. What a wonderful weekend experience for you.

  6. Why can't you live just down the road from me? I am intrigued by the dying idea, and I'm in love with the color, but I'm intimidated by the process, and I don't want to do it all alone. I'd rather do it with you laughing across the dye pot from me. And here's another problem: I dyed muslin when I was quilting, and it was fun, great fun - sun dyeing - but I could never actually use the muslin - only a very few times - because there wasn't much of it, and no project was ever good enough. I'd end up with yarn that I loved so much, I'd never be able to commit it to anything - and if you could see the mountain of commercial yarn I have to deal with - there's hardly room in the universe for it all.

  7. Your weekend sounds like so much fun. Those colours are amazing..simply breathtaking.

    Im glad you got some creative time after what I know was a very busy week !

  8. Oh my golly!!! All that colored wool is incredible!! You must be so inspired by the possibilities!! The best part was you got to do all this alchemy with your friends. Looks like you had an awesome weekend!!

  9. WOW ! what fun you've been having ! :D ..I wish I were there to enjoy it with you. Fabulous colours and strong bright ones too - love them all.

  10. WOW!!! I so wish I was there with you. The dying looks amazing and I bet it would be so much fun especially because you are doing it with a group of like minded people - you truly are blessed to have such a great network of friends who all love to do this gorgeous craft..

    Jodie :)

  11. Wow, I just love those colours! You must be so happy with the results.

  12. The 'fire in the belly' shot is awesome. Love it. Love all the wool too... so many vibrant colours.

    Is spinning wool a bit of a work out? Perhaps I should yet a wheel and spin myself to fitness. Do you think it would work???
    (me thinks an unused spinning wheel would look better in the lounge room than an unused exercise bike!!!)

  13. sounds like a most awesome weekend Jenni! Rainbow dyeing is how I do my fibre and sock yarn, I think it works well for long pieces of sliver that I can braid afterwards but I'm going to have a try at a different method this weekend for yarn because I noticed the sock yarn I did has faded patches which I don't love so much! It's so much fun, have fun with your majacraft turning that all into yarny goodness!


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