Browsed by
Tag: luvswool

Dyeing Fabric and Fibres – Guest Post

Dyeing Fabric and Fibres – Guest Post

Today we have another guest post from Cathy Wycliff (luvswool) who has recently been experimenting with different dyes.


Dyeing is one of the popular topics on the Felt & Fiber Forum, but I admit I was very reluctant to give it a try.  I read about the chemicals involved, the need for rubber gloves and a face mask, and I admit that scared me away.  But after I ordered 10 pounds of white wool (Domestic 56s), I realized I needed to do something, so–being the chicken that I am when it concerns “dangerous chemicals,” I opted for food colors, which are non-toxic and “easy to use.”  The Wilson icing gels I used met both of those criteria, so I happily dyed my wool in the microwave.  However, once I started wet-felting with the wool, I realized the colors bleed, even though I had followed the instructions (vinegar rinse).
That’s what led me to acid dyes, as I witnessed the beautiful results Forum members achieved through their use of acid dyes.  I went ahead and ordered Dharma yellow and blue (figuring I could make my own green), and began my dyeing journey.  I gathered my materials using Ruth Lane’s book “Complete Photo Guide to Felting,” even though Dharma offers instructions on their website.  I just do better with photos. Not pictured are the rubber gloves and mask I wore throughout the process.

5549Preparing to dye, I soaked the wool and silk according to the instructions.

5550While the wool was soaking I laid out the plastic as protection for my kitchen countertops.

5551I mixed the acid dyes according to Dharma instructions on the labels, double-checking with Ruth’s instructions.  I used glass jars, which are fine, but I have since ordered those squirt bottles for easier and more direct application of the liquid dyes.

5554 Here you see the wet wool and silk, ready to be dyed and steamed.

5555I poured the dyes on the wool and silk, first batch, and then repeated for two other colors, mixing the blue and yellow to make green).

5556Each different color of wool was wrapped separately in plastic wrap and stacked in a stainless steel vegetable steamer. Here you see my designated stainless steel large pot, never to be used again for pasta!  I put in an inch of water in the pot and covered.

5557I steamed according to instructions, used a soaking solution again …

5559… and rinsed well — and there you see my first packet of wool (green) laid out on plastic to cool.

5561bI continued the process with the blue and yellow packets of wool.

5563bHere you see all of the dyed, wet wool laid out to dry.

5564Here you see the beautiful blue habotai silk scarf stretched to dry…

5569… and the larger green silk habotai shawl as well.

5570bI now have a good supply of green, blue and yellow standard wool roving and pencil roving, along with a couple of silk pieces ready to be nuno-felted.  Would I do this again?  Absolutely!
Just received my new colors of Dharma dyes, ready to go again!

Cathy’s Nuno Felt 2

Cathy’s Nuno Felt 2

Today we have another guest post from Cathy about Nuno Felting. If you’d like to read the previous post and all the comments, please click here.


Recently, I posted for the blog my first experience with nuno-felting, which was not too successful.  Many of you replied with terrific advice and tips on nuno-felting.  I used those tips, along with Zed’s e-book on Nuno Felt, to make another attempt.  I am happy to report success!
I began with a pale green silk gauze scarf, hemmed, measuring 56″ x 20″.  This was purchased on Etsy, as was the orange scarf used in my first nuno-felt experience.

Pic 1Armed with my new knowledge, I laid out merino roving in green, teal and gold, covering one side with 3 layers.  This time I used a rubbery rug mat as my base, covered by bubble wrap,  then wool.

Pic 2…and then flipped the package over…

PIC 3and laid out pale green merino in bands, about every 6 inches.

PIC 4This time I covered with a white polyester curtain sheer and began spraying using a Brauser ball and olive oil soap water–COOL this time–I began hand rubbing, spreading the water and continually rubbing GENTLY.    I lifted the sheer to make sure fibers were not coming through (but they were!)  Repeated process on underside of scarf, replacing bubble wrap with curtain sheer.

PIC 5After sufficient felting by hand rubbing, I laid on bubble wrap…

PIC 6… and began rolling my wooden foot massager over the nuno-felt package.

PIC 7I remembered to turn several times, so as to cover all angles.  Repeated the process on underside. I forgot to time myself.  After sufficient rolling, checking first side … then second side … I now felt ready to try the washer spin method of felting/fulling.  So I rolled the package in a wet towel, leaving bubble wrap inside and tied shoelaces around it.
Four minutes in washer spin cycle, then popped the scarf only into a lingerie bag and put in dryer for 4 minutes.  Good thing I looked after 4 minutes, because the scarf jumped out of the lingerie bag and was folded in half.  I carefully peeled it apart (phew!) and there you go!
Long view:

pic 8Close up:

Pic 9Underside, see prominent green bands:

pic 10Close up of underside:

pic 11There was a little shrinkage (finished scarf measures 49″ x 15″) but I would have liked to see more ruching or ruffling effects. I consider this a success and am ready to try my third scarf, hopefully improving along the way!
Many thanks to all of you who wrote in and provided sound advice to a newbie nuno-felter!

%d bloggers like this: