I recently read some new instructions for dyeing using citric acid and salt. Well not new, I took a class a couple of years ago where the instructor used similar instructions. Normally, I use vinegar for dyeing. But I like to experiment. I have also been wanting to try some new fibers and have never dyed something I’ve already felted. So, I decided to combine the experiments.
I made samples using Cheviot, Romney, Icelandic, Texas Mohair locks and Domestic 56’s. On each sample I put a piece of silk Habatoi, silk gauze, thick and thin yarn, mulberry silk and prefelt. I was going to make a placemat out of them, but they all shrank differently, so I have to rethink what to do with them.
According to the instructions, I had to weigh the fabric to dye (before soaking in synthrapol). I had a large pot so I put together some Merino, silk habatoi, wool yarn, and wool thick and thin yarn along with my samples. All total 128 grams. Next, into the soak, then on to mixing the citric acid and salt solutions.
After a thorough search, I couldn’t find the citric acid I thought I had. Whoops. Well, it should still work with vinegar, right?
1 gram of fiber= 1 milliliter of dye. Then depending on the Depth of Shade desired the amount can be multiplied by 1 through 5 (light to dark.) When I filled the syringe with 120 ml of dye, it looked like a lot so I decided just one DOS would be enough to start. Normally, I would use a tablespoon of dye. If I wanted a darker shade, I could add more dye later or overdye it. I used my own dye stock that I had on hand. After getting the fiber and dye bath up to temperature (185 degrees), I let it simmer for 30 minutes and checked it. The water was still very dark. I added more vinegar and let it simmer for another 15 minutes. No change. Another 15 minutes, then I added more vinegar and turned the heat off and left it until morning expecting it to be exhausted.
Back to the dye pot. I decided I probably didn’t need more teal fiber, so I added a couple of teaspoons of yellow. Then put in some Domestic 56s, alpaca/silk, kid mohair yarn, Cheviot and silk gauze after soaking in vinegar. I repeated the dye procedure.
Okay, enough, right? Dont laugh. I had to see this through. Day 4 included thick and thin yarn, wool yarn, a piece of felted Wensleydale, silk habatoi, Romney and Merino. I expected some pastel colors the next morning. No.
I finally realized my mistake — my prepared dye mix is 1 teaspoon dye powder to 8 ounces of water which is double the concentration than what the instructions were for making the dye solution. (1 part dye powder to 100 parts water — i.e. 5 gm dye powder to 500 ml of water.) I didn’t pay attention to the dye solution instructions because I had already had some made. My bad.
I haven’t given up. I have citric acid now but will try a much smaller amount of fiber and the right amount of dye solution. But now on to make some batts and start a new project.