If you read last post (Weekend with a Llama (Inky Dinky Doo) you would already know that I am not Inky Dinky Done with the alpaca fiber. (I also learned from a very kind reader the word wool is only used for sheep… Leonor was very kind to point this out and clarifying that “fiber” is the best word for generically describing Inky Dinky Do’s hair. She is an amazing textile artist and you would do well to check out her blog and her store- Felt Buddies and Yarns )
I also want to clear up one more thing from the last post. In my Inky Dinky Don’t section I mentioned you shouldn’t taste the fibers. I think I owe more of an explanation. (so you won’t think I am weird) In between washes I made a peanut butter and honey sandwich. I worked with the fibers and not thinking immediately took a bite of my sandwich. What I didn’t know is that there was a small romantic spark between the alpaca fibers and the honey and they had “hooked up” on my sandwich. As one thing led to another they tried to elope and took a ride into my mouth with that bite. YES…I am not exaggerating and you know during a wedding when they ask “if anyone objects to this marriage, let them speak now or forever hold their peace” … well my taste buds and mouth both raised their hands…
If you are confused by all of this Inky Dinky talk you may want to read the previous post. This is a continuation of last post. In this post I am going to dye the alpaca fibers with an avocado dye. I have been thinking about this day for a long time…don’t laugh… I am being honest. I landed by happenstance on dyeing with avocado pits while searching natural dyes last May and I really liked the color. If you don’t know the color that comes from dyeing with avocado pits…you should continue reading. The color may surprise you… or it may not I am not going to promise anything.
Step 1: Prepare the fibers to receive the color by impregnating them with a mordant (as least I think you should do this… Please feel welcome to correct me or add anything I might be missing). The mordant solution I will be using is an alum and tartaric acid mix. I use 6 grams of alum and 5 grams of tartartic acid.
I poor this into 1 gallon of distilled water and heat it up (not too hot we don’t want to create felt). Once it is warm add the fibers. Let the fibers soak for at least two hours. I should add a warning that if you have too much alum the fibers will become “sticky”.
Step 2: Create the dye by boiling avocado pits. I tried this with “old – frozen” avocado pits but it doesn’t work as well… plus I had a little mishap… so I ran to the store and bought 10 avocados (kind of expensive) and started over. After seeing the difference in color I recommend using “fresh” pits. Cut the pits out and do what every you want with the skins and flesh (nothing creepy please… that popped in my head when I re-read “skins and flesh”) Place the pits in a gallon of distilled water. Simmer the pits until you see a deep red color. This can take a long time… 2 – 5 hours. Don’t let the pot run out of water. (umm… yes I did this with my first batch… that was the “little mishap”)
Step 3: Let the solution cool down and filter the pits and other avocado bits out by passing it through a colander lined with cheese cloth… or any other filter.
Step 4: Place the wool into the warm dye water and let it sit over night. If the fibers are damp when added to the avocado pit water it will dye more evenly (at least from my experience). I was told that some dyers prefer that it be uneven (art yarn). Which ever way it turns out… I am going to lie and say that I planned it that way.
Step 5: Remove wool from the dye and let dry. This will take longer than you expect. (you can spin it in the washing machine if you want to speed up the drying)
… et Voila!
Pinky Dinky Doo
I really like this “dusty pink”… My daughter Gwen wanted it darker, but I like this color kind of an “antique pink”. Hmm… I guess it is ok to admit my like for pink… especially since I used the word “Fabulous” in the last post. (Caitlyn Jenner is not that only one that can break down gender stereotypes)
Stay nearby… there is more Inky Dinky to Do… (coming, carding, and spinning) Now I have to figure out what to do with all of those avocados… hmmm.