Wash and Dye Day

Just received 4 lbs. of yearling mohair fleece. I don’t see much vm, just some dirt.  Dumped the whole load onto the floor and it all looks good, not many second cuts.  I’m using crab boiling pots to wash the fleece. I have two. I fill the first with water as hot as the tap allows and then I boil a kettle and pour that in to raise the temp to around 130-140 degrees. To the hot water I add four squirts of Kookaburra Scour.  I like the smell better than Power Scour.

Soap and Water

Soap and Water

About half the load or 2lbs of fleece go into the hot soapy water. Set the timer and let is sit for 20 minutes or more. Do not let it cool off in the wash water.  Don’t forget it. The yolk that is melting off will reattach and be very difficult to remove on a subsequent attempts.

Adding Fiber

Soaking in Soapy WaterTo speed the wash process up I’ve filled a second pot with hot water, soap and the last    2 lbs. of fiber.  Set the timer for 20 minutes.

Two batches of wash.

Two batches of wash.

By now the first batch had released a lot of dirt.

First Wash

First Wash

When the first batch is ready to drain I take it outside and pour through a strainer.  Press a few times to remove excess water. Then repeat. In the second wash, use half as much soap, the same hot water and same wash time. At the end of 20 minutes the water is dirty but relatively clear. Again, drain outside. To rinse the fleece, add more hot water to the pot and soak in water for 15 minutes or more. Drain. Continue to rinse in hot water until it is clear.  Check the fiber and be sure it feels clean, not sticky.

Dry Washed FleeceSecond Wash

At this point the wet fleece can be set outside to dry or left in hot water waiting for the dye pot.

Finished wash
Dyed whole 4lbs of fiber using commercial acid dyes.  Brown Dyepot
The dark brown is the first fiber to enter the dyepot. The light purple is the result of fiber added in the near exhausted pot of brown dye. Using natural transitions, the next dye added was red and blue for a deep purple. Adding more fiber, attaining lighter colors and the dyebath exhausts.  When all the dye has attached to the fiber the water is clear again.
Now yellow with a bit of blue and brown go in.  A golden green results.

Green Dye Pot

I usually have two dye pots going at the same time.  One for cool color transitions the other for warm colors.  At the end of the day all the dyed fleece is set outside on sweater racks to dry.

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