I did some dying on the weekend.

I did some dying on the weekend.

I needed to dye some orange wool to make a flower for a customer so if I am going to get the dye pot out I might as well do a bunch of dying. You can never have enough dyed wool. I dye on the side burner of my BBQ outside when the weather is above freezing. Now it’s not much above freezing, it was only about 10c/50f  but that’s good enough for me.

I made a bunch of 100gram/3.5oz balls of merino top.  I heat up the big dye pot of water with some vinegar.  I Unwind a ball and soak it in warm slightly soapy water. I mix my dye and add it to the pot. I gently squeeze the water out of the soaked wool and pop it into the dye pot. I let it go from 20-40 min. If the waters clear I take it out early, if it’s not I leave it for the 40 min. While it’s cooking I start the next wool soaking and mix the dye. My water is very hard and it effects the dye process. I don’t think I have ever managed to get an even dye job. that is one of the reasons I usually recard most of my wool.  Dyeing with rain water is on my list for this summer. My rain water comes of a metal roof so I don’t know how much difference it will make but its worth a try .

This is the result of Saturday and Sunday.  The wind was not cooperating so excuse the sloppy display. I was just happy they stayed on the back of the chairs long enough to get  a picture.

whole group

Here they all are in groups

purplesI couldn’t get the colours one right no matter how I fiddled. There are 5 colours there. The middle 3 all look the same. Two are very close but one is purple and turquoise.

oranges This one is pretty close to true.

greensThis is very close to true.  The pale green is from an MX or fibre reactive dye used as an acid dye. Its called sage leaf. The one next to it, fourth  from the top is supposed to be olive drab but is more like sage leaf.  The yellow and green one is the exhaust batch after the greens and I quite like it. I think I will recard it to blend the small spots of green in to it. The blue is the exhaust after the purples.

While these where in the pot I added some yarns too. These are all form when I was learning to spin. I didn’t like the colours.

blue and brown yarn This was a natural brown plied with a white. It went into the bright blue dye bath.

brown and green yarn purple yarnThe purple one was white. The one on the right was natural grey plied with white. It went in the sage bath.. The one on the left was another brown and white and it went in the olive drab dye bath.  You can see the purple and the gray have gone all curly with not being plied properly. They are not balanced yarns. I think they will be fine to use for decoration on felt. It will add interest.

purple and blue yarn The one on the right is a commercial ladder yarn that was a horrible pale green. I had no idea what it was made off except it wasn’t natural. I tossed it into the bright blue bath to see what would happen. It came out great.  The top one went into one of the purple baths. It was a purple I mixed myself with turquoise and red. It spit into turquoise and purple. The others were ones that I bought mixed but they split too.  One of them started out pink but I can’t figure out which one now.

All in all a good weekend I didn’t even felt them badly like I usually do.




20 thoughts on “I did some dying on the weekend.

  1. Good work, Ann! I’m surprised you managed to use acid dyes effectively on non-protein fibres. Did it bleed a lot during washing?

    Have you tried using bottled water for dyeing? I too have very hard water here in London and so bottled water is the only way to go for a good dye job… Let us know the difference if you do! 🙂

    1. Thanks Leonor. The nylon didn’t blead at all during the washing. acid dye works for wool silk and nylon. I was hoping that was what it was made of and just lucked out. I will definitely let everyone know when I do use rainwater. I will run them through my carder to get a nice blend of each colour.

    2. Ah, it was nylon! That would work, then 😀

      You definitely should also try a session with bottled water if you can, and see how each differ – hard water, rain water and bottled. I’m willing to bet each will be different!

      I only realised this after making red dyestock with tap water, and having it split and look horrid straight away…

  2. Now that’s why I call a good day of dyeing! WOW, you didn’t mess around. About your hard water–have you ever tried using a water softener, such as Calgon?

    1. Thanks Cathy, It’s not that time consuming really, you can do other stuff while its cooking. did try some Calgon years ago with out much success but I was just sprinkling some in the pot without much knowledge

  3. Great colors Ann! You certainly made a day of it and out in the cold! I almost always have to card my dyed wool.

    1. I didn’t stay out in the cold with it. The wool isn’t bad for being tight but it is messy looking. I think with the variation it will make for a nice depth of colour when it is recorded.

  4. Looks great Ann. When I put my wool roving in a dye pot I just add the acid to the dye pot and don’t soak the wool in advance. As long as you put the wool in slowly, it comes out fairly even. One less step seems to prevent as much felting.

    1. Thanks Ruth, I put the acid in the pot too but my wool always wants to float more if I don’t soak it. Sometimes I do add it dry. The last exhaust wool when it dry.

  5. That looks more like a years’ worth of dyeing! I probably have most of those colours in commercial tops, but I bet it’s far more rewarding and enjoyable dyeing them yourself. The yarns came out nice too 🙂

    1. It’s not the same though is it? You don’t get the slight variations you do from hand dyed wool, the commercial ones are so ‘flat’.

  6. Such beautiful work! I’m especially amazed at how that synthetic ladder yarn came out. It looks absolutely divine now!

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