Sunday, August 2, 2015

Hand Dying Wool

Remember that gorgeous hand spun wool John sent me from Australia? We played Scrabble online the other day and he said he had dyed some of his wool.  He was kind enough to forward me a web site he had used in dying wool.  The instructions were easy to decipher, so I decided to dye up some of the wool he sent using food coloring.

Basically, this is it: Soak wool in 1 quart water per100 grams wool, and a solution of vinegar water: 4 Tbsp. vinegar to one quart water, and soak for an hour.  While soaking, I mixed up colors to dye the wool teal and lime green.

For Teal: 2 TBSP Green food coloring, 4 TBSP Blue food coloring
For Lime Green: 3 TBSP Yellow food coloring, 1 TBSP Green food coloring

Website Australian Organic Wool says:
Soak skein in tepid water with 4 Tbsp of vinegar per quart of water for an hour before dyeing. 
Mix up your colors then add the water and the dyeing solution to the pot. Add the yarn and heat until it is just below boiling point – steam will be coming off the surface of the dye bath.  Continue to simmer and stir gently until all the color in the pot has been absorbed by the wool and the remaining water is clear. This will take less than 10 minutes.
Trouble shooting tip: If your yarn will not take the dye you may be using wool that is too coarse. Coarse wools only absorb small amounts of color. The best wool for dying is fine and superfine classes of wool.  
Allow to cool then pour yarn into colander and rinse with tap water until all residue colour has run out. Dry out of direct sunlight.
 So... Here is the first attempt at dyeing a lime green along with a darker green, hand painted on plastic by the "pour method;" I liked it.

Then on to dyeing a second skein of wool. This one I wanted a teal color, but the first attempt at achieving teal blue resulted in too light a shade, and looked a little muddy; note the right hand skein of sickly blue:

Back to the dye pot it went, and simmered for 40 minutes, not the original ten minutes that was suggested in the instructions.  This is the resulting color blue, which in my humble estimation is much prettier, and more vibrant:

Now I am anxious to knit these two colors into a striped shawl.  It might take a while, but as my brother says, "what's time to a hog or a  (insert your favorite word here)?"  Here, here, what's time to a hog or a knitter?


  1. Ooh, how fun! I have a skein of bare fingering and want to dye that. My girls would have fun doing that. I think solar dyeing would work because it's hot here.

  2. Beautiful! Oh you are brave:) Have a blessed day and knit something pretty! HUGS!

  3. I can't wait to see the finished product! You're so good!

  4. OH FUN the banner and vibrant background too (:)


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