Sunday, February 3, 2013

Immersion Dyeing - My Way

There are many ways to do immersion dyeing of wool fiber to get a semi solid color. I thought I would share my way of doing it.

This method originated from a way that Carol Lee at The Sheep Shed Studio does her dyeing. I saw it on the Yahoo Group, Dye Happy some time ago.

You will need a large dye pot and some roving as well as acid dye stock and vinegar  or citric acid. The roving needs to fit in the dye pot with some space to move around in the water for more even color.

Pre-soak the roving in water and a little bit of Dawn dish soap. In the meantime, put the dye pot over your heat source and bring it to a full rolling boil. You want it rolling not just bubbling.

When the water boils, add the acid dye stock to your pot. My dye stocks are mixed to a one percent solution. For eight ounces of fiber and a nice medium shade, I like to use one half cup of stock. For the fiber shown in the photo I was aiming for a lighter color so I used one-eighth cup or two tablespoons of stock. This fiber weighed about 7.25 ounces.


Is the heat off? If so, you can squeeze out the fiber and add it to the pot of very hot water and dye stock. Push it down into the stock and let it sit there for five minutes or so. The dye won't strike yet because there is no acid in the dye bath,. Waiting helps make sure all the fiber is in contact with the dye.

Next add the acid. For this pot I added about one half cup of vinegar. Push the fiber down gently to mix the vinegar with the dye liquor.

Put the lid on the pot and let it cool. The pot will stay hot enough for the dye to strike for over an hour. I let my pot cool completely before I rinse and dry my fiber.

The thing I like about this method is that it gives me a fairly even strike and there is no chance of felting the fiber assuming that the heat was turned off before the fiber went in the pot and that there was no vigorous stirring.

Give this a try next time you want a semi solid fiber.