Awhile ago I got the dye pots out to try dyeing some alpaca. I had already washed and spun some of this alpaca fiber but there was quite a bit left. My thought was if I am going to get the fiber wet to wash it, I might as well then put it in a dye.
I give all the details of the process in the podcast. I will give a few brief details here.
The alpaca didn't look it but was very dirty. It took many wash and rinses before I was not seeing any dirt in the sink once I drained the water. While going through that process, I got two dye pots made and heating on the stove.
I think this cactus bloom was the inspiration for my two dye pots:
For some reason my Christmas cactus decided to bloom this spring. For the dye colors I picked a deeper version of green and maroon.
I used acid dyes, putting vinegar in the dye bath with the fiber. The pots were held on the heat just below boiling for 30 minutes, then I turned the heat off and let them sit there for about five hours. Then I removed the fiber, rinsed it several times, and let it dry.
This is the fiber before I picked it apart.
It was not easy to photograph, the pink is not really a hot pink, and the green is much darker. I was really please with the dyeing.
I had some left over dye, not from the dye pots but from when I was mixing up samples of dye colors to decide what to use. I had drum carded batts of this same alpaca, and I thought I'd see how it would work to wet the batts and pour the dye on them. I worked on Saran Wrap, laid out a batt, poured the dye and rolled the batt up in the wrap. I put it curled up into a glass pie plate, and then microwaved the packet very briefly. The first batch did not work well, I forgot to add vinegar. I did remember with the second batt and it took the color much better.
One batt each color and then one batt with both colors on it. I like the very pastel affect, but doubt the yarn will show the color as much as the batts. It was a fun experiment. I have only used half of the fiber, so I may repeat the dye process one more time, as well as just wash more and card and spin it in it's natural color. Then I can make a project with the three colors.