I'm planning to make up some samples of hand-dyed wool using my recent bargain buy. Usually I dye wool on my stovetop. That works well for me if I'm going to be busy in the living area, which is an extension of my kitchen--or vice versa. I can keep an eye on my pots, while getting on with something else. My dyepot easily takes a few litres of water and a couple of hundred grams of wool. I have done some dyeing in the microwave, but not much. Now thinking about samples poses some different challenges. There will be lots of different colours and small quantities of each. I'm thinking that using the microwave may be more efficient. So this morning I did an experiment.
The thing with experiments is not to change too many variables at once. I used 50 grams of wool and my usual guestimate of dye powder. I pre-soaked the wool as usual. The amount of water was less than usual, but still enough to let the yarn move a little. That turned out to be about 800 ml--or a yoghurt container not quite full. I took lukewarm water from the tap and my usual dash of cheap vinegar. You can see I'm being nice and scientific about my process! I used my microwave's reheat button--just once--and checked to see that the water was steaming but not boiling. Perfect! Then I set the timer for thirty minutes. That resulted in the dye being just about exhausted--not quite, but pretty close to what I would accept in my dyepot on the stove. It may take up a little more as I just leave it to cool.
That's it so far. I have rinsing still to do. Then it will be time to try a bit more variation. I'll use less wool, water and dye powder. My aim is to be able to dye at least half a dozen samples in one go.