My Kitchen Floor is Wall-to-Wall Wool

Swampdaughter picked up my drop spindles and combed roving I had on hand to demonstrate handspinning techniques to girls in a class after work at church.  (I wasn’t letting my spinning wheels go!)  Swampdaughter is a VERY good spinner on the wheel but hates my drop spindles.  I like my drop spindles and am not as good on the wheel.   So, here I am, with no dyed combed roving. 

Daughter and I took a garbage bag full of unwashed stinky fleece out of my storage building.  Usually I spend DAYS washing and drying a fleece before I dye it with Koolaid.  YES, Koolaid.  It makes a lovely permanent dye in some vibrant colors!  I decided to simultaneously wash and dye the wool, showing Swampdaughter how to Koolaid dye wool fibers in the microwave in case she would ever be interested (probably not).   Mostly I was curious as to whether I could skip that pesky intermediate step of washing and drying, and then wetting, dying, and drying again.  It would be nice to speed it up just a little bit.

So, I grabbed a big ol’ dirty gob of fleece, rinsed it with hot hot water in a colander in the stainless steel sink, mixed a vibrant hue packet of Koolaid in a glass bowl in hot hot water, and put it in the microwave with a couple drops of detergent to “cook”.  If you want to dry this, you’ll have to check your microwave to see how long it takes before the Koolaid color disappears from the water and is all in the wool.  This particular microwave takes about 5 minutes.  If the color isn’t deep enough for you, you can add extra Koolaid packets!

My kitchen counters and floor are covered with gallon ziplock bags of dyed, line-dryed wool in cherry, grape, orange, tropical punch, ice blue raspberry lemonade, and pink lemonade Koolaid colors.  I still have dirty fleece in a large garbage bag on the floor in front of the sink, and dyed wet wool draining in a colander waiting for morning to be placed on the line.  I might move it to a plastic bowl and keep dying.

The next step will be to comb out my tangled dyed wool with viking combs.   It is a matter of personal preference, and I just prefer combed wool to carded wool.  Swampdaughter prefers carded.   

There are a lot of things that can be done with the wool.  It can be spun into yarn and then woven, knit, crocheted, or used to make wrapped baskets.  It can be felted into toys, hats, shoes, purses, vests, jewelry, decorations, or whatever your imagination can come up with.  

Here’s something that my imagination didn’t come up with.  I found it on YouTube this evening when I was looking for examples to show everybody of felt.  This isn’t exactly “felt”, but it is an interesting craft.  I think I’m going to try it!  Maybe Swampdaughter would like to try her hand at making wool pictures, too.

Heh. The table at their fiber meeting is what my counters and floor look like! You know it is bad when SwampMan walks through, looks around, and says “Let’s go out to eat, okay?” Woohooo! Tuna Rider at the Sheikh for me.

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3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Cyndi said,

    Where can I find combs like these?

    • 2

      swampie said,

      Sorry for the delay, Cyndi. Life keeps getting in the way of blogging! I bought mine at a sheep and wool festival in Maryland several years ago, but you can order them from most handspinning and weaving supply places.


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