Angels are singing.
I gave up on keeping the dye cool, and instead focused on using heat, but for as short a time as possible to try to keep the dye from turning brown.
I learned from Natalie that in order for the dye to strike exactly where you want it, water and fibers must be hot together. Natalie uses synthetic dyes, but I wondered if the same treatment would work with this bloody aggravating bougainvillea. So I tried it.
I heated water and fibers slowly together, to minimize felting. At just under boiling, I added a little bit of dye, waited for the pot to return to the previous temperature, then added a little more dye. I wanted the temperature of the pot to remain as consistent as possible, so the dye would strike and the wool wouldn’t felt.
Once all the dye was in, I added vinegar the same way. I hoped it would help more dye strike and help with light- and wash-fastness.
I took it off the burner, rinsed in water the same temperature as the dye bath (again, to prevent felting)—and that’s when the angels started singing. Vibrancy. Depth. Fastness. Brilliancy. Everything I wanted.
Here’s to tenacity.