Merino Wool Dyed and Dried

merino wool washed, dyed, and dried in the lockI love washing Merino Wool. I love the shine of it. I love the softness of it. I love to spin it when it’s done washing, dyeing, and drying. Today, I figured out a clever method of drying my Merino fleece when I realized I didn’t have a drying rack anymore!

 

My favorite method to wash Merino wool is to separate the fleece lock by lock, and place each one carefully onto nylon net. I’ll fold the net to separate the locks from the next layer, making a little net packet of locks. It’s a little time consuming, but it always has great results.

When I have several packets folded up, I oh-so-gently wash the merino, careful never to slosh it or agitate it. It will felt if you look at it sideways, so take this step slowly!

I prefer to dye with the “Serendipity Method” I describe in my Handpainted Warps blog post.

These Merino locks were dyed with my Serendipity Method. This first picture is while the wool is still quite wet. It dries to be a far lighter shade.

I used both Rit and Dylon dyes for this. I was disappointed at the Dylon dyes, and wouldn’t recommend using them for the Serendipity Method.   I’ll go back to my tried and true Rit dyes, which have never disappointed me with this method. I have wool that I dyed many years ago which has not faded at all.

Once I’ve dyed and gently rinsed my little net packets of merino, I need to dry them. I used to use a drying rack, but my ancient one broke recently. I broke out the clothes pins and binder clips, and clipped each packet to my chain link gate. You can see that I clipped the bottom of each packet, too, to keep it from blowing around too much. It’s a little windy out today. 

About an hour later I checked on my wool. The sun had come out from behind our maple tree and the locks were really starting to dry.

Can you see the crease across a couple of the packets? That tells me that the wool is still pretty wet and sticking together. As it dries, the crimp structure will re-establish itself and you can see the locks visibly fluffed up.

 

 

 

Some of the netting is still orange from a previous dye job on merino locks. The green couldn’t overpower those fiery colors!

 

Here are some fluffy little locks, fully dried on the top layer. On the inside of the packet were some locks still damp and flat. It’s amazing how they fluff up!

These are dried packets. You can see how much lighter the colors have become as they dried, if you compare to the first picture.

I love the textures and colors and shine of the fiber still in its little net packet.

A stack of packets, ready to be opened and flick-carded and spun fine.

One lock flicked and finger-spun. I just had to try it out!

Wool makes me happy!

After it was completely dry and removed from the nylon net, I was left with a formation of Merino strata: stacked layers of luscious, soft and shiny wool in shades of green.merino wool washed, dyed, and dried in the lock

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