Redistributing Dye

“Redistributing dye” is just a fancy way of saying “fixing” a dyeing mistake, and that’s what I’ve been doing today. The mistake part is not the fact that it turned out wrong, but rather that I dyed my wool the wrong way, and now I’m hoping to fix it.

I often dye my wool to be intentionally ‘blotchy’ which gives me movement, and highlights in my hooking. I do that by adding 1/2 of the dye solution to the dye bath, and then after the wool has taken a lot of that up, I spot the rest of the dye over the top , mixing minimally. This particular wool turned out to have very strong ‘splotches’ because without thinking of the result, I added the vinegar to the dyes in the mixing cups, so it was taken up very quickly without dispersing very far.DSCN0390

I dyed several pieces for my ‘oil on water’ with this method, BUT discovered when I started hooking, that I needed a smooth even colour to create the right effect.   So now I am hoping to remedy that mistake to make my 1/2 yard of wool usable.

The first step is to try and remove some of the dye. To do that I simmered my wool in a dish soap solution (or whatever you use to open the wool prior to dyeing).DSCN0391It took about an hour before the water was significantly coloured with the released dye.

Then I removed the wool, added a glug of vinegar to the water(or citric acid if you prefer), then reintroduced the wool and stirred it to make sure the dye was evenly taken up…..the result is not perfectly even, but much better.

The second fat quarter I did the same way, but since I wanted it darker than the first, I added 1/32 tsp of dye in 1 CBW to the dye bath along with the vinegar before I put the wool back in the pot. (they are both deeper and evener than this photo shows)DSCN0396

My initial foray into dyeing for this rug was a little more successful (but not much). It was intended as a ‘test run’ of colours. I prepared 1/8th yard strips of natural and oatmeal and dip dyed them using the microwave method.DSCN0380This involves adding boiling water to a microwave safe bowl (designated for dyeing only) , adding the dye bath with vinegar added as well, and dipping the wool immediately in the very hot water. When satisfied with the intensity, finish with 5 minutes in the microwave. I find this is an easy way to dye small amounts of wool quickly. To set the wool, simmer on the stove in clear water for 1 hour. DSCN0385

While I can use all of this wool, I now realize that Gene Shepherd’s ‘lazy swatch’ method will give me the best wool colours for this rug. This involves adding pieces of the wool to the dye pot at about 30 second intervals to create, light, medium and dark versions of the same colour.

Don’t you love that vibrant pink in the centre? It’s Pro Chem Rhodamine red, a new dye (for me) that  just arrived in the mail. I’m not sure yet how much (if any) I’ll dare to use, but I sure like looking at it.

Thanks for stopping by.

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