Before I cleaned up the garden, and inspired by these books, I harvested a gallon sun tea jar's worth of marigold flowers with the hopes of dying some of that lovely Merino/Mohair roving I have.
I must confess that it took me awhile to get over some of the weights and measures and science and decide to see what happened with what I have. I pre-mordanted the fiber in Alum and prepared the dye stock by simmering the marigolds in a huge stock pot for about an hour. It was still warm outside and my windows were open. Although I did not find the smell offensive, I don't think I'd want to do this with the windows closed. In other words, this is a fair weather process.
After I strained out the plant material I gently put the roving into the steamy marigold broth. I allowed it to steep for about 45 minutes. To avoid handling the fiber, I placed it into a large mesh zippered laundry bag. I am glad I did it this way because I was able to pull the fiber out and save the broth. It took several rinses before the fiber was clear of residual dye. I spun the bag of fiber in the front loader and laid it out to finish drying.
I was very pleased with the result!
|Crock pot 1- "normal" heat|
|super hot crock pot|
In spinning this blend of fibers, it is a treat to see the shimmery mohair bits with the merino and how they've each taken up the dye differently but very subtly.
You should be able to see the slight differences in this next photo. Some of the shades are a result of the dye not being consistently absorbed throughout the roving (which I like) and some is the difference in the merino and mohair.