On Halloween afternoon I decided to use some of my wools that I call "bleeders" and see if I could create some new colors. After all, I live in an area where we have never had one trick or treater as the houses are too far apart. I always buy some chocolate (just in case) and end up eating it. Using bleeder wool is nice because there is no dye involved! Anyone can do it! In this picture I have gathered blues and purples. Some I know will bleed their colors when you get them wet. The dark purple in front is a 100% wool long purple coat (size 24) from a yard sale. I don't know if it will bleed out it's color or not. Next is a purple 100% wool blanket (bleeder, yard sale). The heather fabric is part wool, the next blue fabric is unknown and the bright blue is 100% wool from a rug braider, also a bleeder. I once used a bleeder sweater, and the fulled sweater was then cut up for ornaments. Once again I will give my disclaimer...I play and experiment with wool and colors. I'm sure there are many places on the web to get "proper" lessons. But in my blog I am merely sharing some of the things that I do...whether right or wrong.
In this picture the front dark red is 100% wool from a coat. The second is mostly wool and I know it is a heavy bleeder. The third is a gray unknown fabric with a wonderful fuzzy texture, probably part wool. The green is a known bleeder too, although 100% wool.I want to make rolls with my fabrics, and can use either 2 or 3 pieces in each roll. I used three, with the lightest color in the middle and using at least one known bleeder fabric in each roll. I started by tearing my fabric into rectangles that were about the same size, for me it was 10" X 18". I wet them for a short time with liquid dish detergent so the inside piece would soak up the dye better. Wring them out, lay them flat and roll them up loosely. You want the water to be able to penetrate the layers so roll loosely. Wrinkles in your rolls will cause horizontal lines or color, which can be wonderful for hooked rug wool. Here is the purple bleeder, blue bleeder and gray unknown fuzzy fabric.I use any kind of string or twine to loosly tie the rolls so that they will not come apart. Loose is important, because if you tie the thread tightly the color will not get under the thread and you will end up with light lines on the outside piece of fabric. I usually toss quite a few yards of string into the pot with the wool as it will also lightly pick up color that will match the wool. Since I like to make penny rugs, this thin string comes in handy for thread. I tie it off in 4 places so it doesn't tangle.I then place my damp rolls into my pot so they are covered with water. Someone asked me about my water as she does not have luck dying wool. I have an artesian well, and the water has a high lead content but nothing added like you might find in town water. I'm sure the chlorine used in town water might make a difference, but perhaps a positive difference. You never know. I could have used more water in this pot but I used tongs to turn the rolls over once in awhile so they would stay wet. As soon as the rolls go into the pot you can see the bleeder colors start to bleed and color the water. I simmer them for 1/2 hour, then add a few pieces of light or white wool to the mix to absorb some of the color in the water. Then I add a strong glug of vinegar and simmer another 15 minutes until the water is pretty clear. I turn off the stove and let it sit overnight to let everything blend. The next morning the wool is cooled and it's time for the exciting part. The revealing of the rolls is so much fun as you really have no idea what you are going to have! This is expecially true when you are using some unknown fabrics like I am using. I place the rolls in my sink and snip the strings. After I have them unrolled I rinse them well in cool water and put them in my washer: hot wash, cool rinse, hot dryer.At the same time I was doing the rolls, I had a pot of reds and purples going on the stove (not rolled). I had a lot of wool in the pot so the fabrics would touch each other and cause mottling. Again I tossed in a few light wools near the end of the simmering process to soak up leftover color in the water. This is what I had when I dumped the water out of the pot. Here is the result after the wools have been dried. The colors have blended and they would all work well together in a project. The blues picked up a wonderful rasberry cast, and have the mottled look I like. You can see the horizontal lines from the rolls where the color bled into some areas more than others. I'm pleased! Another wonderful thing about bleeding wool is that you will have two sided fabric when finished. One side of the fabric will pick up more color than the other, or more mottling, so each side of a piece will be different.