Friday, May 15, 2015
Washing and Dyeing Wool Locks
Some of our Border Leicester locks are up to 8 inches long. Our carding machine does not like them that long. So, I needed to come up with an alternative for these fleeces.
I started with a 10 pound white Border Leicester fleece, one with up to eight inch locks.
I layed out some towels, and started sorting the locks. (Great time to put in your favorite movie).
Washing the locks came next. It was a little more time consuming than how we normally wash our fleeces. I filled the sink with hot water, just enough to cover the locks. I then, set the locks out in a single layer, and soaked them for 15 minutes. I removed the wool from the sink and gently massaged the wool wash into the locks. I changed the water out, and placed the locks back into the sink, and set the timer for another 15 minutes. I repeated the soap and rinse cycle twice.
After the last rinse, I carefully placed the locks into a mesh bag and removed the water with the extracter. (I heard a Salad Spinner works well too)
I laid them out to dry.
This fleece had some discolored tips, so I decided to dye them. I have dyed larger amounts of locks using the kettle technique, locks that were later carded into roving, so if they were a little disheveled/tangled, it didn't matter.
After reading some tutorials, I decided to try the method of dyeing that uses a microwave to obtain the heat needed to set the dye. I was more than happy to give up my old microwave to the dye studio, once used for dyeing, it cannot be used again for kitchen use.
The microwave method is quick, much quicker than the kettle dyed method. It is great for small quantities. I dyed about 2 ounces at one time, One batch with Robin Eggs Blue and another with Salmon.
I love the shade of blue, but dissapointed that it didn't hide the discolored tips as well as I would have liked. They look a little green.
The Salmon, turned out bright, and dark enough to hide the discolored tips.
I decided that I need to order more dye colors... I have a LOT of locks. I may try hand painting the next batch.