Spinzilla is fast approaching, and now is the perfect time to prep your fiber for easy spinning! Click here for our previous post which covers more ideas for fast-spinning fiber preparation; today, we’ll focus on dyeing natural colored spinning fiber with user-friendly Gaywool dye to make striped rolags on the Louet blending board.
- 1/2 lb. natural colored spinning fiber (we used Perendale from the Canterbury Prize Wool Group)
- 1 Gaywool Bush Blends Starter Pack (we used Iceberg and Rosemary)
- Crock Pot or Large Stock Pot
- Louet Blending Board
- Optional: Dish Gloves (if you prefer longer gloves than those provided in the Starter Pack)
Prepare to Dye
Since we are planning to make striped rolags with one color that will be more dominant than the other, you will want to divide your fiber into two sections for each color. Color A (shown here in Iceberg) will be approximately 2/3 of the fiber your have on hand to dye; Color B (shown here in Rosemary) will be 1/3 of the fiber. Be sure to write down the exact weight of each set of fiber, because this will help you to determine how much dye to use in your bath later on.
Your fiber will best absorb the dye if you soak it in warm, soapy water ahead of time. Fill a sink or basin with enough water to submerge your fiber, and leave to soak for about 15 minutes. Carefully squeeze to remove excess water from fiber before proceeding to the next step.
While your fiber soaks, begin heating up the water in your crock pot or stock pot for the dye bath (make sure to use enough water to cover your fiber sufficiently. Dissolve dye in hot water according to directions on the package, add to dye bath and stir.
Time to Dye
Add fiber to dye bath and allow water to come to a boil. Gently move the fiber around in the dye bath using tongs, being careful not to felt – this allows the dye to be worked through more uniformly. If you prefer a more kettle-dyed effect, you can opt to move fiber less, though we do not recommend skipping this step entirely.
After 15-30 minutes, remove fiber from dye bath – you may wish to allow dye bath and fiber to cool down before handling fiber. Be sure to wear protective gloves to prevent dye from being transferred to your hands. Rinse fiber in warm water and allow to dry.
Time to Blend
Once the fiber is completely dry, it’s time to start making your rolags on your blending board! For this project, Color A was added to the left and right sides of the blending board, with a section of Color B in the middle, using the width of the opening for the handle as a guide.
Blend as many rolags as you desire, or until you run out of fiber! Then, be sure to store in a plastic bag or bin to keep safe from pests until it’s time to spin.