To dye or not to dye? That is the question; and when the answer is 'to dye', the lazy dyer is willing! First, look to see if there is some dirty fleece in the fiber closet--definitely, dirty fleece. We are talking fleece right off the animal. Fleece that hasn't touched water or soap--dirty, loaded with wonderful lanolin. We are happy to report there is one dirty fleece just waiting for those colors-- Please don't ask the breed--there is no information available in the bag and the memory is faulty in that regard. But, we can certainly tell it is most likely one of the prize winning fleeces bought at Estes Park Wool Market. The staple is silky, long and soft; excellent for spinning and more importantly, dyeing. This fleece has a nice gray tint.
Set up the dyepot with all the proper equipment (plastic gloves, mask, dyepot, covered work space, vinegar etc). Now, cram, yes cram, that fleece into the dyepot. Make sure there is a little top space. Glug, glug some vinegar into the dye--we are talking lazy now. If you prefer, you can measure vinegar. Cover the fleece with cool water. Add water just till it covers the fleece. Do Not fill to the rim of the pot. We are ready to add color.
We are using three primary colors (acid dyes)--yellow, red, blue--thinking about the migration of colors--what colors will you get with this mixture? Oranges, purples, greens and a varied cross selection. We are sprinkling the dry powder right onto the top of the fiber. This is where you put on that mask. You can do a cross with dye or triangle, square, one section, any way you want. Here we have used a cross with the yellow dye, which takes a little longer to activate for some reason.
Now, sprinkle the other sections with other chosen colors. Most often I use only three colors but you can use more. Make sure all the dye powder has been dissolved in the water by gently pressing down to get it wet. Now, you are ready to cover the pot, turn the burner to low, very low and wait 30 minutes. Make sure it does not boil or you'll have muddy colors. Patiently, waiting................
Look what was pulled from the first pot!! Pull the fiber from the dyepot and place where it can cool. DO NOT DISCARD the remaining water. There is more dye in the pot. Repeat the process of cramming the fiber into the pot, cover with water, sprinkle dyes (you can use different color range or the same), add more vinegar, heat on low, cover the pot and wait 30 minutes..... Second pot color. Okay, let's do it again! DO NOT DISCARD liquid--cram more wool into pot, repeat process. We continue to do this until there is no fleece available. Third pot! WOW! what color ranges! Now, the fingers are itching, just itching for this fiber to dry so we can take them to the spinning wheel. After fibers have dried completely, rinse in warm water until color runs clear. The dye liquid remaining could also be frozen for another dye. Too bad, there isn't another dirty fleece in the fiber closet. And that is the way this lazy dyer gets her color.