I don't wander into politics too much on this blog, but it needs to be said that at this point, the arguments against the existence of global climate change are cold comfort. (There is, however, plenty to discuss about possible causes and what our responses should be.)
After that non-winter, I don't think there was a lot of surprise that summer came in with the fiery heat of a woman scorned. And I am giving a lot of thanks for all those lovely mature shady oak trees in my yard, thank you very much Atlanta developer who didn't denude my neighborhood in the 1970s. Still, there had to be something useful to do with all this heat. I've been thinking for awhile about dyeing some fiber, and had recently read this old Knitty article by Kristi Porter. She mentioned that you could dye yarn in the same way as making sun tea. So that's what I did.
|Yellow and pink mohair, blended with hand cards.|
At our May North Georgia Knitting Guild meeting, Lynne brought mohair from a friend who has goats that needed to be clipped. Several of us left the meeting with bags of free raw mohair. I put mine in a mesh bag and gave it a wash and rinse in the sink. I think I used Johnson's baby shampoo. Then I used wide-toothed pet combs to process the fiber. The longest locks were fairly easy to process, as I could hold one end and comb out the kemp and shorter fibers. Shorter locks were harder. I ended up with a small pile of silky, long white locks that are first rate -- glowing and glossy and worthy of the elves of Lothlórien. I ended up with a much larger pile of shorter, second rate fiber. The seconds include some fine, nice white fiber but also some brownish kemp. One of the nice things about this fiber is that the good stuff is mostly one color and the bad stuff is mostly a different color. With the correct equipment I could probably separate the two, but I haven't the correct equipment. There is also a small pile of long locks that are both white and brown. And there was a huge pile of waste. Since I'm looking for a core, the softness of the material is not a high priority. I'll save the two small piles of long, fine fiber for other projects. The waste went to the trash or the compost pit.
|Second-rate mohair, fluffed but undyed.|
The pink color at top is reflected light from the antique roll top desk.
After an hour or two I checked the mixture. The dye didn't take evenly -- probably because I didn't swish the mixture around enough. It also wasn't as dark as I wanted, so I mixed up a second packet of pink lemonade Kool-Aid. This time I pulled the fiber out of the water, added the dye, stirred it, and then put the fiber back in. I put the plexiglass back in place and went back into the air-conditioned house.
When I checked in another hour, the water was clear. All the dye had soaked into the fiber! I tilted the bowl and let the water run down the driveway. I left the fiber sitting outside in the bowl for the rest of the afternoon so that it could dry. Then I brought it indoors. Later, I put the fiber in a mesh bag, gave it a soak in the sink to rinse, and hung it up to dry in the guest bathroom.
|Pink lemonade mohair, after dyeing. Not a natural strawberry blonde.|
|Pink lemonade mohair, processed into roses of rolags, ready to spin!|