Prepping the Wool - Mordanting
According to what I’ve read, there are 2 proportions you could use. I might be doing things wrong because maybe there’s a way to have both recipes coincide, but mine didn’t.
1 alum : 4 water
5-20% weight of wool of alum in a bucket of water enough to cover all wool comfortably
I went with recipe 2 because the 1:4 ratio seemed like A LOT of alum, and I didn’t want to risk having the wool come out slimy (that apparently happens if you add too much alum). I took the smallest percentage of weight of alum, and then rounded it to the nearest 10. So I used 10g of alum, for about 98g of wool.
Here’s the math:
Weight of wool = 98g
7% of 98g = 6.86g
6.86g rounded to the nearest 10 = 10g
So it’s more than the minimum amount, but I figured as long as it’s under the 20% mark, I should be good. And it worked out okay!
Recipe aside, here’s what I did:
- Soak wool in cool water (no drastic temperature changes as it’ll shock the wool, which leads to felting), about 30 minutes at least
- Mix up mordant (in this case, alum + water). Make sure the water is not heated.
- Squeeze out water from wet wool (don’t wring, just squeeze), and place in cool mordant bath
- Heat very gently to just below boiling point
- Simmer for 1 hour
- Let cool slowly. I left mine overnight in the pot to cool
- Remove from mordant bath, squeezing out excess liquids. At this point, you can dry the wool for storage, or put it straight into dye baths. I let mine dry out for about 30 minutes because I needed to split them into tiny bundles. They were damp when I split them up. Just remember that wet wool goes into the dye bath more readily than dried wool.
If you found this useful, consider checking out the colours I got from this mordant, and the recipes I used! (Links below will be updated as they are posted)
Overview of colours + links to recipes
My dyeing process (Microwave dyeing!!)
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