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Author Topic: Dying wool  (Read 6710 times)

Blinkers

  • Joined Jan 2008
  • Carmarthenshire
  • Carmarthenshire/Pembrokeshire border
    • Glyn Elwyn - Faithmead Herd
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Dying wool
« on: January 19, 2011, 10:54:12 am »
I've now got to the stage where I want to have a go at dying some of my own spun wool  :)     There's lots of info on t'internet, but I want to start off with the easiest, and most basic method.    Can anyone offer any suggestions/recipes that are fairly fail-safe  ::) please  :sheep:
Thanks all.
Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again !!
www.glynelwyn.co.uk

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
Re: Dying wool
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2011, 11:24:10 am »
Hi Blinkers.  Dyeing yarn is brilliant fun  8)  Before I let myself loose on my handspun I tried out the techniques using bought yarn - we are near New Lanark which does, or did, cones of undyed wool yarn fairly cheaply (I still have some).  I felt that I didn't want to make a mistake with handspun after all that work.
Are you going to use natural dyes or chemical?  I have tried both, but because we live on iron-rich rock, our water (from our own well) is also iron-rich, which 'saddens' any colours I get using natural dyes - so instead of lovely rich gold from anthemis tinctoria, say, I get a duller brownish yellow - very disappointing.
I think the easiest and most failsafe natural dye to start with is onion skins which give yellow - most natural dyes give yellow  :D  I haven't done that for a while but I'm sure someone else will have a method for you.  I have a friend who has made the most wonderful jumper for herself using onion dyes in every possible shade, with a pattern of interlocking onions worked into it.  It's very subtle and also very beautiful, but way beyond what I could do.
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the the lifeblood of your land.

Blinkers

  • Joined Jan 2008
  • Carmarthenshire
  • Carmarthenshire/Pembrokeshire border
    • Glyn Elwyn - Faithmead Herd
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Re: Dying wool
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2011, 01:51:56 pm »
Hi Fleecewife - that's a good idea about not using my own wool, but testing it on something else...and I do happen to have some undyed Aran I bought off Ebay a while  back.

I'd much prefer to use natural dyes, but I don't mind what I use for starters just to get the feel of it as I'm actually rather nervous about the whole thing at the moment  :-\

As it happens, I've been collecting up onion skins for several months now, although I didn't realise until recently that you need the same WEIGHT in skins as you have in wool  :o :o :o :o That's one hell of a lot of onion skins  ???

Our water comes from a Spring and its very acidic although its treated with neutralisers/calcium before it comes into the house.

That jumper sounds wonderful.{{{big sigh}}} one day.

Could I use something like Turmeric do you think?
Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again !!
www.glynelwyn.co.uk

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
Re: Dying wool
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2011, 03:11:50 pm »
Hi  Blinkers. Most dyestuffs need the fibre to be mordanted with something like alum first - mordants help to fix the colour and to make it brighter. I think though that turmeric might work without a mordant, so give it a go.  A little book you might find useful is Jenny Dean's The Craft of Natural Dyeing 7.95. Jenny Dean has written several excellent books on natural dyeing.  She suggests 30gms onion skins to 100gms wool so you might find your collected skins go further than you had thought  :)
Alum can describe several substances based on aluminium, so it's best to source yours from a craft supplier such as P&M Woolcraft.  I have temporarily forgotten the full name of the appropriate one for dyeing  ::). You need to use far less alum than most recipes say.
A quick, no not quick but simple, way to test various possible dyestuffs, is to put the plant material you want to test into a jamjar with water, alum and the appropriate amount of wool, then set it on a windowsill in the sun.  Check and shake it every day until the wool has changed colour.  It's also useful for dyeing just a small quantity of yarn, or lots of small quantities of different colours for something special such as for crewel embroidery etc.

I have done most of my dyeing using acid dyes as I wanted to be able to reproduce the precise colours.  I particularly like making parti-coloured yarns with various techniques, but I haven't had time to do them in recent years.  Once my (big) wool shed is built I am hoping to get back to the craft works  :)  Somewhere on my website, I think under 'spinning' it shows some very multi-dyed yarn I made in autumn colours, using acid dyes www.scothebs.co.uk - that was great fun !
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the the lifeblood of your land.

Bionic

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Dying wool
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2011, 08:26:24 pm »
Fleecewife,
I have been looking at your website and the fleece that Juliet is sorting looks fantastic. Is it possible to post a fleece if I wanted to buy one?

I will be abroad for the next few months so am only showing an interest at this moment but would like to know if its possible for when I return.

thanks
Sally
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
Re: Dying wool
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2011, 12:22:25 am »
Hi Sally - yes I can post fleeces.  We handshear in about June and July.  The fleece I'm sorting in the pic is a Hebridean, so double coated (that one was fairly enormous) and there is a description of a typical Heb fleece there too.  But ask again when you are back.
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the the lifeblood of your land.

Blinkers

  • Joined Jan 2008
  • Carmarthenshire
  • Carmarthenshire/Pembrokeshire border
    • Glyn Elwyn - Faithmead Herd
    • Facebook
Re: Dying wool
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2011, 02:00:38 pm »
  :wave: Fleecewife.   I've now dug out the Alum that I bought at Wonderwool Wales last year  ::)....... and so have that bit sorted  ;D

Fantastic and simple idea regarding the Jam Jar method, so that's what I'll try first.   One question.....when I come to do a bigger batch, what sort of 'pan' do I need to use?  Presumably I can't just use a large everyday saucepan???   Does it matter if its stainless steel, iron, metal, - is there anything that's NOT suitable  ??? ???

LOVED that multicoloured yarn you've done.  I absolutely love the mixed colour yarns and they knit up into such wonderful colourful garments.
Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again !!
www.glynelwyn.co.uk

oldwolf

  • Joined Sep 2010
  • Livingston
Re: Dying wool
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2011, 06:43:32 pm »
I never have any problems dying fibres.
Every time I do the wash my tee shirts come out the same colour as my jeans. :'( :'( :'(
'And the crowd called out for more'

Blinkers

  • Joined Jan 2008
  • Carmarthenshire
  • Carmarthenshire/Pembrokeshire border
    • Glyn Elwyn - Faithmead Herd
    • Facebook
Re: Dying wool
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2011, 08:27:09 pm »
I never have any problems dying fibres.
Every time I do the wash my tee shirts come out the same colour as my jeans. :'( :'( :'(


   
Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again !!
www.glynelwyn.co.uk

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Dying wool
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2011, 05:23:46 pm »
Hi, I am just at the same stage, having now spun quite a bit of my own shetland wool, all white. I hav ebought the "Wild colour" book by Jenny Dean (8.somehting on amazon) and have ordered my alum etc from P&M Woolcraft. As I also make soap sometimes, I have a couple of middle sized stainless steel pots that I plan to use for dying as well.

In the past I have tried food colouring, just with vinegar as a fixing agent, and it worked. It was only small quantities, and I find the colours are very in your face. I have also used the water from cooking beetroot, just added some yarn, and vinegar - gave a very nice reddish brown. Not sure if its colourfast though.

I am "dying" to have a go again, just collected about 70g of onion skins... My OH is starting to complain.... "why do all meals have onion in it?"

Waiting on my Copper water to turn blue....

Blinkers

  • Joined Jan 2008
  • Carmarthenshire
  • Carmarthenshire/Pembrokeshire border
    • Glyn Elwyn - Faithmead Herd
    • Facebook
Re: Dying wool
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2011, 05:48:23 pm »
Yeay...Anke - post some pics won't you  ;D     

I'm going to have a go on Sunday hopefully (hmmmm.... best laid plans and all that  ::)   so will let you know what happens  ;)    I'm only gonna try the jamjar method for starters though.    I don't have a metal pan that ...................... ahha......JUST had a thought whilst typing this.   Hubby said this afternoon that the lid to the pressure cooker has broken and we'll have to get a new one  ;D ;D ;D ;D.......so there's my dyeing pan then - yippeeee
Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again !!
www.glynelwyn.co.uk

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Dying wool
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2011, 08:23:36 pm »
Stainless steel is best I think, aluminium pots can induce colour change.

Not sure if and when I would get to take pics, I would have to upload them through the PC, atm I prefer the laptop by the fire....

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
Re: Dying wool
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2011, 12:24:55 am »
Yes it's best to use a stainless steel pot, but if you are using alum anyway then an aluminium one won't make any changes.  Copper and iron would also act like mordants if used as pots.  I am lucky to have an old Baby Burco boiler which my Dad used to use to sterilise the shells of the turkey eggs before they went into the giant incubators.  It's great as you can dye a big load, enough for a whole jumper, in one go, and you don't need an external heat source.  But they are difficult to get hold of. Stainless steel dog bowls are good for small quantities, but ss itself is so cheap these days that you can pick up a big stockpot for not very much, or buy yourself a new one for the kitchen and use the old one for dyeing  ;) (as with pressure cookers - great idea  :)) .
If you like multi coloured yarns, fairly simple ones can be made by dipping only part of the skein into the dyepot for one colour, then once the whole dye process has been copmpleted, dye the other end with a different colour, and if you let the two meet in the middle you will get a third colour.  For example I have used green and blue, to give green, blue and turquoise,stormy summer sky colours, and I have used light green and light purple to give green, purple and deep purple, which when knitted up looks like a heather hillside  8).  The length of skein you use partly governs the repeat you get.  A way to get spotty yarn is to dye the whole lot in the basic colour, then wind it into a ball and sit the ball in a shallow amount of a different colour and cook it for an hour (this is for chemical dyes).  Again with chemical dyes you can get random colours by wetting and laying the yarn in a baking tin, then dripping different dyes over the yarn.  Oddly they don't run together very much so you get some fine colours.  The yarn on my website was dyed using that method, dyeing each singles separately then plying them together after they were dry.
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the the lifeblood of your land.

Blinkers

  • Joined Jan 2008
  • Carmarthenshire
  • Carmarthenshire/Pembrokeshire border
    • Glyn Elwyn - Faithmead Herd
    • Facebook
Re: Dying wool
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2011, 10:46:29 am »
Oh my lord, I'm gettin serious dyed wool envy here  :o :o   Fleecewife, I wish you lived nearer   8)

Lots and lots of tips there to have a go at - thanks ever so {{{{still scared though}}}}  ;D
Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again !!
www.glynelwyn.co.uk

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
Re: Dying wool
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2011, 11:42:35 am »
Look upon it as an adventure - you'll love it  ;D  Once I start on a dyeing spree, no one gets fed til it's over - humans that is  :o
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the the lifeblood of your land.

 

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