Dye Job


Look at that colour! 

Ever since I got home from the July spinning group meet up, I’ve been obsessed with dyeing fibre.

Maybe it’s a good thing I don’t get a chance to meet up with this incredible group of ladies very often because I regularly come home from their meetings reenergized and wanting to take on all things spinning related. They are so talented and inspiring!

After spending last Saturday with them, and specifically talking about dyeing wool fibre and roving, I was reminded that I have enough stock of the basic supplies at home to dabble in this without making too much of a financial investment. I’m trying to be more mindful these days of using what I have at home rather than going out and buy new – which often comes for the sake of just buying “stuff.”

Anyhow, after googling, youtubing and pinteresting a million different resources on fibre dyeing, I set out to have some fun. 

The above hank of roving is a beautiful 6 oz of mystery wool dyed with Wilton icing dye. Being a cake decorator, I have plenty of that on hand in a full range of options. For this project, I decided to play with breaking a purple colour (the different colours that go into making the Wilton purple separate with heat and vinegar resulting in the most beautiful blues, teals and purples). This is done just in a stock pot over the stove.

The result was quite stunning. I’m currently spinning in on my Lendrum in a very fine lace weight with the hopes of chain plying it to retain the different hues.

I also realized I have some Gaywool dyes at home and played with those a bit. This beautiful wool is 8 oz of white shetland from Louet.

At first I had more of a contrasty blue and yellow dye job. I tried to paint the roving and then heat set it in the microwave. I wasn’t really happy with the results. It was very pale, the colour hadn’t flowed to the bottom of the roving so there were some bare spots, and the blue and yellow just seemed disjointed. 

Out came the wool stock pot again and I mixed up the blue once more and put the whole roving back in to sit and think about what it had done for a while. 

The result: well, yellow and blue make green… and the blue intensified. It flows much better this way. I’m really happy with it; it feels like it should be made into something for my husband. 

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I went back to my mystery roving for the last two projects I worked on this weekend. I don’t know what breed this wool is from but it’s got a nice staple length to it… it was given to me by a friend when she was moving – such a treat!! 

Out came the Wilton dyes again.

I love the idea of having pops of colour. I’m also trying to think from a design point of view about contrasting colours.

First, I dyed this 8 oz hank of roving with a really dark blue. I let the roving sit in the pot and absorb the dye for a bit before I added the vinegar (which is necessary to make the dye “take” but I didn’t want to add it too early and cause the red to break out of the blue dye).

The result was a beautiful variegated blue finish. I almost stopped there but curiosity had me wonder what would happen if redyed some of the white spots with copper dye. I dipped the lighter spots into the pot with the copper dye. After washing and drying, I’m super excited about spinning up this roving.


Finally, I finished off this last 6 oz hank of mystery wool with some purple.

Of course, I didn’t quite start out this way. I actually was hoping for a grey, light blue, pink mix… but you know what they say about best laid plans. I started with a small amount of black hoping it would be an unsaturated grey. Instead it broke into blues and teals. To add interest, I tried to spot dye some pink.

Wow – the lesson for the day was pink is BRIGHT!

I ended up with a really jarring pink and light teal. I set it out to dry but knew wasn’t happy with it.

After staring at it for quite some time, I finally grabbed it off the drying rack, brought it back inside and threw it back into a pot of purple. Again, I left the vinegar out till near the end hoping that I could get a stronger purple before the reds and blues broke. 

Purple is my favourite colour so I’m really pleased with the result! Can’t wait to see how this one spins up.DSC_2735

What did you do this weekend for fun? Are you a spinner? Knitter? What is your favourite colour?

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