Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dyeing Wool

First off let me say I am sorry for not doing a blog post in a while. My husband and I have moved to Hoboken, NJ and its been a bit crazy with switching everything from NY to NJ (not to mention unpacking!) Anyway, we love it here and I cant wait to do some posts about my new town! 

The other day I dyed about 2.5 pounds of wool! I have not dyed in a while and it felt great!

I did both crock pot dyeing and steam set dyeing. I am going to explain a little about how to go about steam setting your dyes today. 

First I start soaking my fiber in a vinegar bath with a touch of Palmolive soap.

Because I am using Acid dyes I need the vinegar so the dyes will be absorbed and set. This is called "the mordant." The soap helps to rinse the fiber of any dirt or oils left over from the mill. I put about a 1/2 cup to a cup of vinegar per bath and a squirt of soap. 

You must let the fiber sit in the bath for at least 30 min. DO NOT touch the fiber to much. We are using warm water and soap so we would not want the fiber to felt. 

Next, lay out the fiber in any type of shape you want. Be creative! 

Next apply the dye solution to your fiber. I used a squirt bottle for the application. 

Gently press the colors down in the fiber so the other side contains no white (unless you want it to)

Then layout some plastic wrap and place your fiber onto it. Then wrap your fiber up like so.

After that, put your wrapped fiber into a zip lock bag. Squeeze out all the air and tape it shut. This makes a cute little package. 
Lastly, take a pot (do not use this pot again for food, just dyeing) and add water to it until it boils. I use a vegetable steamer insert in my pot because you don't want to put the package directly into the water. It has to be put into some kind of steamer. Next, place your package onto the vegetable steamer, cover and let steam for at least 30 min. 

Take out your package and let cool. Be careful because this will be really hot. Cut your package open and let the fiber cool to room temperature.

Next you will rinse. There may be some extra dye that did not absorb in your first and second rinses. You want to rinse until the water is clear. I use warm water. If for some reason it keeps bleeding, let the fiber sit in a vinegar bath for about 30 min and try again. You want the fiber to sit in each rinse bath for at least 15 min. Do not agitate the fiber or it will felt. I do ring it out but that's it.
 let dry and BOOM! 

Please let me know if you have any questions as I would be happy to answer! 

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