Dyed Wool and Fibres

Dyed Wool and Fibres

Last week I decided to dye some wool and fibres. I used up quite a lot of my dyed texturey wools when making batts recently, so I wanted to to restock those and thought I’d do a few fibres while i was making a mess. I ended up having to do it over three days, and it made a right mess, but it was worth it in the end πŸ™‚ I bought some white Kent Romney lambswool to try for adding texture, I had a little bit of scoured Falkland fleece left over too so added that:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve bought commercially dyed silk noil before, but it really isn’t good compared to the small amount I dyed once, so I thought I’d give that another go:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also dyed some Tussah Silk tops – a good tip for anyone wanting to dye small amounts of fibre tops is to separate the amount you want to dye while the tops are dry, and soak them separately, it isn’t easy when they’re wet!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI used the same shades to dye some Soy top as I had on the Silk, and though they look similar, they soy definitely looks a lot shinier:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANeither of them come close to the colours and shine of the Milk though, but I did do these on a separate day and they weren’t the same lot of dyes:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the last minute I decided I wanted to dye some Gotland, Teeswater and Wensleydale locks. These were all raw, unwashed, so the night before my last lot of dyeing I gave some locks a shampoo and rinse. From top to bottom: Gotland, Teeswater and Wensleydale.


Teeswater locks
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI do have some more stuff waiting to be photographed, some Bluefaced Leicester wool and locks, soy staple fibre and carded lambswool, I’ll add those to my ‘supplies’ album on flickr when I get good enough light. The last one I’ve got for now is Trilobal Nylon (sometimes labelled as ‘Firestar’ and sold at exorbitant prices) cheap nylon tops. The photo hasn’t really picked it up, but it has a lot of sparkle and these dyed really well:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf anyone is interested in dyeing smallish amounts of fibres, I did a small tutorial on it a while ago:Β http://feltingandfiberstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/direct-dyeing1.pdfΒ  luckily this time, I had my fold out table for a larger work area! I used acid dyes which are good for protein fibres (animal fibres, soy, milk, silk, and nylon too as it is a synthetic version of silk).Β  I have tried it on bamboo before too and got some nice, pale results, so it’s worth trying a sample or two πŸ™‚

34 thoughts on “Dyed Wool and Fibres

  1. Gorgeous colours, the milk fibre is certainly brighter, but as you say different dyes. It’s amazing how much time it takes to dye different fibres and different shades. Good to have it all done and ready to use! πŸ™‚
    Can’t access your link by the way.

    1. Thanks, Judith πŸ™‚
      I bought a little mixing palette so I could do slight variations of shades, so they weren’t too ‘flat’. I forgot all about it till the day after! The links are fixed now, thanks for telling me πŸ™‚

  2. Hello Zed. I think you are at master at dying fibers….. They are all beautiful colors,,, where did you buy your Firestar undyed???? I tried the link and it did not work,,,smile

    1. Thanks, Fiona πŸ™‚
      I wouldn’t know about that, hopefully Ann and Ruth will reply to you, I know they’ve used dyes ‘meant’ for cellulose on protein and acid dyes on cellulose, I don’t know what else you need in the way of fixatives though, especially for combinations of fibres.

    2. You could use the acid dyes, the cotton fabric would be a lot lighter in color than the wool. If you’re doing the resist dyes, that would probably be the easiest as you can just make a pot and steam it in the pot. The fiber reactive dyes will dye the cotton but not the wool as well. Plus you need to use soda ash fixative for the cotton.

  3. Thanks for sharing Zed, I never would have thought to try dyeing nylon (I always assumed synthetics would not take the dye). Fabulous colours too, I’ve already put milk protein on my shopping list πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks, Teri πŸ™‚
      You can even buy home dyes for polyester now too, I haven’t tried them though. I thought I’d do a load of milk because I wasn’t planning to get it again, I’m glad I tried it.

  4. Had to put my pelican bib on when I came across the photos of the milk fibres and the locks – the colours you achieved are wonderful (and your tutorial is ace!)

  5. Great Job Zed. your tutorial is very good. I have put the wool and water into a mason jar and put them in a pot with boiling water like if you pickling but not as much water. you can do a bunch of different colours at the same time that way too. Once we put the two ends of some wool in different jars.

    1. Thanks, Ann πŸ™‚
      I like that idea of using jars, the cling film does take a long time and gets boring unwrapping it πŸ™‚

  6. Truly luscious colors and lustre. Whatever you decide to use these fibers for they will add great sparkle and depth to them.

    I’ve used your tutorial for dyeing the process works well.

    Ii like to use zippered plastic bags, but the cling film also works ok for longer pieces. I’ve got jars but haven’t used them yet. Thanks for sharing. I can’t wait to see what you create with all this wonderful fiber.

    1. Thanks, Marilyn πŸ™‚
      The first time I tried dyeing, I used sandwich bags, but they stuck to the side of the pan! I should give some others a go though.

  7. As Lyn says, we’re all drooling here πŸ™‚ Beautiful colors and I love how all the fibers pick up the color differently. That makes them work very well together in a monochromatic scheme.

    1. Thanks, Ruth πŸ™‚
      Yeah, I thought after wards, it would have been a good idea to dye by colour rather than by wool or fibre, they would have matched more, but they turned out nice anyway.

  8. Really well done, Zed! I always enjoy your experiments, whether they are about dyeing or fiber blending. Very rich, beautiful colors. I’ll be bookmarking your tutorial for future dyeing fun!

    1. Thanks, Cathy πŸ™‚
      I make the messes so you don’t have to! πŸ™‚ You and Marilyn should have another dyeing day!

  9. I love your results, all the colours are amazing. I spent yesterday dyeing some raw wool purple and green and will be doing some more colours today, it’s so much cheaper than buying pre dyed and a lot of fun πŸ˜€

  10. And yes, milk fiber is now on my shopping list. Anyone have rec’s on ‘this side of the pond’?

    Zed your above tutorial is the one that I used earlier in the week – it works great! And I rather like the tearing into the cling film part — never would do that with gift wrap! (Interestingly, the term ‘direct dyeing’ seems to mean other things, elsewhere — on Paula Burch’s site.

    Love Lynn’s expression Putting on the Pelican Bib!

    1. Thanks, Julianne πŸ™‚
      I didn’t know ‘Direct Dyeing’ was already a thing, I just thought it sounded appropriate-applying the dye directly to the wool or fibre or felt, rather than adding them to a pan of dye!
      World of Wool in the UK is cheapest for wool and fibres wherever you live, especially the more you get as the postage gets cheaper. If you only wanted Milk protein though, as a guide, World of Wool charge Β£5.50 per 100g, which is $8.64 or approx $2.50 an ounce if my maths are right πŸ™‚

    2. Thanks Zed – wool prices in the USA are yet another consumer surprise. I miss WOW and may just do a biggie order when my stuff gets depleted. That or start dyeing roving from Dharma or similar.

We'd love to hear your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: