Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Dyeing Without Dye

I wanted to name the post "Taming the Uglies" but figured if someone wanted to use the search engine on my blog the best would be what I used.

Most of us have wool we don't particularly care for and wonder why we bought it.  Yet wool can always be changed by over dyeing with dye, marrying wool in a pot with soapy water or sandwiching different colors of wool together, twisting and tying before putting in a pot of soapy water.  I've done all those techniques at one time or another and have posted the results on this blog.  So here are the subjects of today's efforts.

Top left above is a plaid which I have never used as the white is too white. Bottom far right is a pinky red and is a reversible and it is too pink for my taste and would have preferred a more barn red.  Although was sure that would not happen in this experiment.

Was hoping by marrying all them together would soften the white in the top left, bleed out some of the red in the other wool and wanted the green, black and blue to dull the pinky red. 

Basic Instructions:  I presoaked the wool with very warm water with Ivory (no bleach) soap.   The pot of wool was then placed on my range with high heat until it was steaming but NOT boiling.  The temp was turned down low so that it would simmer NOT boil for at least an hour. 

From time to time I'd push and turn the wool in the pot to help release some color.  Slowly the color would get a bit darker.  When I was confident there was no more color to be released put in about half cup of white vinegar as the mordant so the wool would absorb and keep the color.  Again I moved the wool about in the pot and let it simmer about 15 minutes more.  

The pot of wool cooled down on the range with NO heat while I ran my errands.  Then rinsed the wool, spun out the remainder of moisture in  my washer and put in the dryer under low temperature with a couple fluffy towels.  Thought about hanging to dry outside but it was rather cloudy outside.

As one would expect there was no significant change in the dark plaids and just subtle changes in the other.
Above you can see the white was tamed as it did absorb some of the red and dark.  So could see me using that in a pinch for something.  The pinky red did absorb some of the dull of the plaid.  It was a fun experiment to show you who have never dyed wool before.  But in all honesty these need some serious 'intervention' before they will be on my good list line up.  Me thinks one day they will be in a pot with some dye as I've more yardage of both those uglies.

Hope you have a great Wednesday evening.  Now back to work on my Goat.



  1. I have a few pieces of wool that took 3 or 4 over dyes to make them usable...

  2. I haven't had good luck with boiling the wool to bleed the colors, but some do bleed more, so I guess it depends on the dye used in the piece. I do need to start dying, have plenty of supplies and wool, so waiting for sunny days to do it outside.


  3. That wool is so NOT!
    How's Senor Goat?
    Hugs :)

  4. Thanks for the instructions and sharing the results.


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