Summer Dyeing


I waited all winter and well into spring to start dyeing the wool yarn I harvested from my aunt’s husband’s father’s sweaters. It seems that in always-humid Southeastern Ohio, nothing ever really dries unless it’s in direct sunlight on an especially warm day. Earlier in spring I did some kettle dyeing, but the other half complains that this method makes the house smell like burnt hair, and I always manage to make a small mess of things, and the attention required does suck up a small portion of my precious weekend hours.

Last Saturday, though, I tried solar dyeing.

I didn’t have any large glass jars on-hand, so I used a small plastic Talenti gelato (one of our primary vices) jar and some buff-colored alpaca. It turned a rich, deeper purple I had not yet achieved in my previous attempts over the course of a 90-degree day with little involvement on my part. Heavenly!


The next day I placed two hanks of white alpaca in two dollar store roasting pans. Again, I fell in love with the results.


And this weekend’s work, achieving with my amateur Kool-Aid and food coloring and vinegar dyes colorways previously unattainable.


Now today it actually is summer and I’m worried I’ll run out of good hot days too soon. I have four hanks from an alpaca sweater remaining, plus a large wool sweater I have yet to dissemble, and a long sweater dress of a risky and thin wool/cotton/nylon blend if I have nothing else to try.

It occurs to me that I now make more yarn than I actually use. Oof.

Happy summer!

Cheers, S.


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