Dyeing fiber with Country Classics dye
I recently finished a handspinning project. I began by dyeing the fiber with Country Classics dye. In the photo above the top fiber bundle is a blend of camel and silk. the bottom bundle is soft, squishy Polwarth wool.
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Where did the fiber and dye come from?
I received both the fibers and dye in my June 2019 Fiber of the Month Club box from Paradise Fibers. Paradise Fibers is a yarn shop in the PNW (that I would really love to visit someday!). I’ve been a member of this subscription club for several months now and I really love it! It’s pushed me to try new things, and the chat group with other club members in the Ravelry forums is one of my favorite groups.
So for this fiber club box we received both the fibers and the Country Classics dye. Not all club members received the same dye color. Mine is “Mountain Aqua.”
I have very little experience dyeing fiber and yarn, so the video below is not the instruction of an expert, just joining me as I play with something fun.
Like the idea of the Fiber of the Month Club? Come join us and get your own!
Dyeing fiber video
Instructions for dyeing fiber with Country Classics dye
First off, any dyeing project should be done with caution. Acid dyes can be bad for your skin, eyes, and even more dangerous if inhaled, and since it is a fine powder, inhalation is a real danger. Wear gloves to protect skin. Wear safety glasses to protect eyes. Use in a well ventilated area or use a MESA-NIOSH approved respirator. Since I’m just a hobbyist, I don’t want to go all out on equipment, so I just work outside any time I’m dyeing fiber.
First you begin by soaking your fiber. You’ll need enough water to cover and soak into your fiber. For each gallon of water, you’ll add 1 tsp of hand dish soap. Put your fiber in the water/soap mixture and leave it to soak for 30 minutes. This ensures that every fiber is thoroughly saturated.
While that’s soaking, prepare your dyebath. You’ll need a large stainless steel, enamel, or glass baking dish that’s large enough to fit all your fiber and enough liquid to cover it. Acid dyes for fiber are not food save, so once you use this dish for dye, don’t use it for cooking anymore.
You’ll need enough water in your dyebath to cover the fiber. Around 3 gallons of water per pound of fiber. Add the needed water to your large pot or cooking dish. This is your dyebath.
For each 2 oz of fiber you’ll use 1 tsp of dye powder for full color saturation. Mix your dye powder with a small amount of boiling water. Then add that to the dyebath, which is your large container of water.
Heat the dyebath to boiling, or 185 degrees F for silk. Carefully add your fiber to the boiling dyebath and boil for 30 minutes, slowly and gently moving the fiber around as it boils so the dye will soak in uniformly throughout. You will want to be gentle with wool fiber as it’s in the boiling dyebath. Heat and agitation can cause felting.
After 30 minutes of boiling, remove from heat, and allow the dyebath to cool. Remove the fiber and rinse well in warm water. A colander is good for this. Gently ring out excess water, then wrap in an old towel and press out more. Loop over a hanger to dry.
Those are your basic instructions that come with the dye. There are other methods, but dye requires heat to set it. If you use some other method, just know that you will have to have heat.
So how did my fiber dyeing project turn out?
I mixed the Polwarth wool with the camel/silk blend along with a little bit of pineapple fiber and sparkly blue angelina. I blended the fibers on my Ashford blending board and made rolags.
Next I spun singles and then plied to make a 2-ply fingering weight yarn that I really love in both color and feel!
So I guess that shows that even a hobbyist with little experience can have success dyeing fiber. I love handspun yarn so much! If you try a dyeing experiment like mine, I’d love to see your results! You can share it on Instagram and tag me or you can join my Facebook group and share it there!
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