Dyeing roving?

I have offered to do a fall project with my son’s pre-school and decided on handfelting in zip lock bags. I was hoping to do pumpkins. I can not find orange roving and have purchase an alpaca/mohair blend locally. The producer of the roving was concerned that I would attempt to dye it before felting as she said I would felt it while dyeing. Seems like I see dyed roving at fiber festivals all the time. Is there a way to safely dye the roving ahead of time or should I just have them make white pumpkins, then dip them in vinegar and then into orange koolaid and set them to dry?

If you have a bit extra wool, I’d attempt to dye just a bit of it using orange koolaid.

alpaca does felt easily, but it can be successfully dyed. Have the water, vinegar & koolaid up to temp, then drop the wool into it. Allow the wool to sink by itself (ok, you can gently poke it under to help it along)
No swishing, no stirring.

When the roving comes out of the dye pot, blot it dry with old sacrificial towels. The roving may compress, but if you did not swish and stir, it is not felted. Just fluff the roving back up.

Thank you. I will go get some Kool-Aid and give it a try this evening.

I have dyed wool before w/out giving a thought to felting it. Even used it after I dyed it to make a felted bag. It was a very loosely spun yarn too - in hindsight I’m shocked it didn’t felt it b/c I squished and squashed it.

Alpaca felts easily, but it isn’t as bad as Icelandic. That stuff will felt if you look at it wrong!!

Good luck! I’d love to see pics of the finished projects the kids make.

:woot: It came out beautifully !! I love the color I got. We will do the project Wed and I will be sure to post a picture.

I only needed half the roving I bought so guess I will dye up the rest for some felted soap to use as Christmas gifts…or maybe I will get a drop spindle and start spinning.

Congrats!!! :woohoo:

My vote is for a drop spindle!!

felted soap? super intrigued here… and i’m off to the interwebs to learn!

Cool. Share the knowledge you gain, please. I don’t have time to look it up right now.

so basically…

get wool roving, thin it out, wrap it around soap bars (some say nicer farmer’s market style, others say whatever’s lurking in the back of your bathroom’s linen closet is fine).

stretch it, thin it, add more, stretch it, thin it, change up the color of the roving if you like, stretch it, thin it… just make sure the bar is covered.

then cold water wet it, throw it in an old nylon (some used cheesecloth in a pinch) and massage to felt it. rinse it. repeat massaging/felting if needed. really work out all the tension the soap might be feeling. deep swedish hot rock tissue massage.

once you’re happy with the felting process, give it a final rinse, and let it air dry. some say outside in the sun, others just on the kitchen counter using a cooling rack.

the roving/felt acts like a washcloth, and it has some anti-bacterial properties so isn’t supposed to smell funky.

tutorials/pictures at:

and my favorite at http://www.thistlewoodfarms.com/how-to-felted-soap because of the muppet/man thing :wink:

Whew - I survived hand felting pumpkins with 24 - 3 and 4 yr olds !! I intended to take a picture of my son’s 4yr old class with theirs but the teacher threw me off by having me do them in groups of 3. I had thought I would do the entire 4 yr old class then go to the 3 yr olds…3 at a time took much longer than I planned on.

I hot glued magnets to the back so they would have a fridge magnet. My son’s looks a bit like a pear b/c well…I mistakenly suggested placement for the stem and he is an independent sort.

Felted soap - I made one to test it out before making a zillion as Christmas gifts. It is lovely to use, however, after a few days of use the soap inside has been reduced to a gelatinous mass…

Your son’s pumpkin is adorable. Thanks for sharing the photo. Both of my kids have always been the ‘independent sort’ and I’d not want them any other way. It’s challenging but you’re fortunate, he’s much less likely to do things just because everybody else does. I’d bet you’re a great mom. :thumbsup:

When mine were small and somebody would say he/she has a mind of their own, my reply: That’s good, I don’t have enough to share.

Love this!!!

I would keep this forever & ever (or until my child had children & a fridge of their own, and then I [I]might [/I]let them have it for their fridge

VAKnitter … It all depends on the base recipe of the soap you used. Was it a store bought detergent bar? Was it an all vegetable oil soap? Was it a tallow based soap?/

And it depends on how the soap was stored. Was it sitting flat in an area that didn’t have air circulation (i.e. a shower) or was it sitting on a soap rack or a hanging soap-on-a-rope type with circulation all around?

My guess if it was a gelatinous mass within a couple of days is it was (1) an all vegetable oil based soap
(2) kept in an area with little or no air circulation

This is based from being a soap maker of 15+ years as well as being a fiber artist for 12+ years.

You’ve got to love that pumpkin! I like the eccentricity of it and I agree with mullerslanefarm, a definite family keeper.
Good for you for doing this with 3 and 4 year olds.

mullerslane - I used a regular bar of detergent soap I had in the cabinet. It is in the shower, but sits on a wire rack so that it has air circulating all around it to dry between showers. My mom is the only one that has used it so it has only been used 1x/day.

Is there a soap that would work better? My plan was to buy some handmade soaps from either our local city market or whole foods has some lovely ones as well - if I did them for Christmas gifts.