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dyeing wool

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With three bags of wool sitting around my house, I could no longer resist the temptation to try dyeing some.  Those of you who have been reading a while know my fascination with wool.  It is one of those natural fibers I don’t think I will ever cease to be awed by.

As I sat and carded, the boys kept asking me when I was going to make some of it colored and offering color suggestions.  They thought I should use food coloring, like I did last winter, when I introduce the concept of dyeing to them.  They thought I should have bunches of pink wool.  I disagreed, and decided to show them what natural products can do:  Turmeric, for instance, makes this wonderful yellow. 

I put about two teaspoons of Turmeric in about a gallon of water with some white vinegar, and followed the basic directions for dyeing wool.  I let it sit in the dye bath for close to an hour, as I wanted the color to be good and strong, knowing I could always tone it down, by carding it with white wool.

If I can get the colors I want, I plan to spin a variegated wool to weave into a rug for my bedroom.

It turned out so well that I dyed some more in coffee and tea.  I have back walnuts and onion skins to try, not to mention, all of the plants that grow wild around here.  A few years ago, the county tried to eradicate a yellow flower that was brought here by the pioneers, for making blue cloth.  I hope they failed, and that I can find some of it yet this summer.

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