My house faces south, and I have this big concrete stoop, that at some point, somebody painted red, along with all of the sidewalk in the front yard. Why, I have no idea, but that’s something to explore some other time. Right now, it means that I have a front stoop that gets a lot of light and reflects heat back up pretty darn well. That makes it perfect for solar dyeing. Don’t worry if you don’t have a red, south-facing stoop. Any spot in your yard where you get a good 6-8 hours of sun should do it.
I haven’t done a lot of work with this gray Columbian fleece, and as much as I adore the natural gray color of it, I also have plenty that can be dyed. And since I want to drum card most of this fleece at either sell it as batts or roving pulled from a batt, I’ve learned the hard way that it’s a lot easier to dye the locks first. I have been super busy lately, mostly stuck under an infant, and that makes it difficult to pay attention to a dye pot. Passive dyeing seemed the way to go.
I started with six quart ball jars and six different flavors of Kool Aid. Fruit Punch, Strawberry, Orange, Lemonade, Blue Raspberry Lemonade, and Grape. I’m still loving the rainbows.
I dissolved each pack of Kool Aid in 8 oz of warm water, then diluted with another 8 oz. Then I submerged 1 oz of dry Columbia locks in each jar and set them out in the sun until the water ran clear. (Kool Aid has citric acid in it, so you don’t need to soak the wool in a vinegar solution first.)
I left these outside for about a day’s worth of sun, on the solstice no less, so you never know, they might be magical, then brought them in to cool. You can put these in the sun for a couple of days if you need to get them hot enough to absorb all the pigment, but don’t leave them too long, anytime you introduce water, not to mention whatever the heck is in Kool Aid, your wool will mold if you leave it wet too long. Give the locks a good rinse with some wool wash and lay them flat to dry.
I love how these came out, bright on the bleached tips and muted on the bulk of the locks. These six ounce are going to make a couple of really nice, nuanced batts.