My goat’s first soft pile of sheared mohair is a pretty big deal, and I wanted to make it as beautiful as possible by dying it with a rainbow of color. I was aiming for a variegated mixture of blues, hot pink, and saffron yellow. I tried to follow the instructions meticulously, but clearly I learned a lot that I can improve on the next time.
I started with the clean natural color, soaked in a new pot I bought just for dying. I added vinegar to make the water acidic.
I added the four colors in a pie pattern, as instructed, pushing gently to the bottom of the pot so that all the hair would be touched with color. I was taking a chance because I’m not sure how I’ll intermingle the colors when I spin it so that it takes the best advantage of the colors in the mixture.
Now, I began to worry as the color mixed and the water became a deep, muddy brown! When it is done, the water should lose most of its color because the dye will be taken up by the fibers. It did not seem to be clearing at all, so I added more acid (vinegar) and salt to boost the process. I was feeling very dumb and inept at this point.
After an hour of simmering, I placed the pot outside to cool overnight. The water was still a deep burgundy brown. This morning, I poured off the water, which was now a pale purple. I rinsed it several times from the garden hose, squeezing it out until the color ran mostly clear. Then, I laid it all out on a table and turned on the overhead fan to dry it.
It is much more uniform than I’d hoped, but it still shows a hint of the alternate colors. Next time I won’t stir, I will use less dye, and I won’t be as nervous about handling the chemicals.
It will be months before I get this spun into yarn, so don’t expect to see any finished products for a long time. I am a little itchy to get to it, though!