Tag Archives: paradise fibers

Wool Dyeing Experiments


I have been dyeing a lot of wool since that fiasco before. By the way, that actually turned out to be pretty nice yarn and I made a hat out of it. It had a lot of gray in it which is from not using the color wheel properly but I still liked it.

Recently I bought a lot more dye from Dharma Trading Co (it was on sale) so I could try different color combinations. I know you can make any color using just red, yellow and blue but that take a lot o more color theory training than I have! I did buy 2 primaries this time to see how it goes but haven’t used them yet.

My first experiment was a mix of Sapphire blue, burgundy and periwinkle. These were all Jacquard acid dyes. I wanted to try a mix of all over color like I did before but these were carefully chosen to not turn muddy where they came together. This was a very successful dye job and I am thrilled with the results.

Finished blue yarn. Not perfect but getting there. I haven't decided what I am going to make with it.

Finished blue yarn. Not perfect but getting there. I haven’t decided what I am going to make with it.









This week I decided to try a 3 color dye, dyed separately so I could blend them together on my blending board. I’m not very good a reading directions, preferring to just dive in and let the chips fall where they may. I used my 3 pot crockpot and after soaking the wool (about 4 ounces, divided into 3 hanks and tied with yarn to hold it together) I added a teaspoon of Dharma Trading Co acid dyes in Peach Blush, Duckling and Lichen. I had soaked the wool in a bowl of water with 1 ½ cups of vinegar. I got it all put together and turned on the crockpot and when to work (not a unsafe as it seems, I work from home)

The resulting wool was MUCH darker than I expected from the pictures on the website but they were really wonderful fall colors. I have them blended and am spinning them now. I am very pleased with the colors but they were so much darker than I thought they should be so I decided that maybe it was time to read the directions all the way through. OK, maybe I added too much dye.

The first darker batch of wool.

The first darker batch of wool.









On the blending board

On the blending board








The rolags that I am spinning from

The rolags that I am spinning from









So yesterday I did the math (their figures are based on a pound of wool or yarn) and found that I should have used a ¼ teaspoon of dye…. So back to the crockpot!

I did everything the same on this, used the same colors so I could see the difference and the same amount of wool. The difference was amazing. They colors are very much like the pictures on the website and very nice spring colors!!  I think I will blend these too so that I have a firm comparison.

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That got me to thinking about the color range you could achieve with just one dye color. I realize that this is probably not rocket science and that for people who dye all the time, well they probably already know this. But for beginners, this might be a huge deal; it was for me.

So this morning I got the 3 pot crockpot back out (seriously, this is the handiest thing for dying small batches and not having to hang over a pot for hours!) and put labels next to each pot with ¼ teaspoon, ½ teaspoon and 1 teaspoon. I am using Dharma Trading Co acid dye in “Fire Engine Red”.  I used 6 ounces of wool this time (South African corriedale) so I have 2 ounces in each pot.

Fast forward a few hours and I have 3 – 2 ounces lengths of red wool. The color change isn’t as strong as I thought it would be originally. I do like it and will certainly be able to use it for something.  I have some light patches and it may be because 1) I didn’t soak the wool as long as I usually do. I am going to start soaking over night from now on and 2) I think the size of the 3 small pots is too small for this much wool. Before this I was using 4 ounces total and the dyed wool was much more evenly colored.

Three shades "Fire Engine Red"

Three shades “Fire Engine Red”









I hope this might encourage you to try dyeing wool or yarn. It is so fun to do and so satisfying to knit something from yarn you dyed and spun yourself!

Tomorrow I am going to Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle with my daughter and her husband. I hope to have some pictures by Monday or Tuesday.



What Not to Do When Dyeing Roving


OK, wow. It has been a long time since my last post. I have been VERY busy but things are calming down since Christmas so I will be writing a lot more.

A week or so ago, my sister and I went a little crazy ordering roving during the sale at Paradise Fibers and a lot of what I got was white roving of different breeds so that I could learn to do hand painted roving. I have dyed a lot of yarn and loved the results so I thought this would be a fun way to add to my spinning.  I need to say before I start that patience is not one of my virtues….

Here is a tip: Do not be either impatient or quick when you dye roving. Also, rubber gloves are strongly suggested. I don’t think I totally ruined 5 ounces of the South African wool but it was touch and go for a while. Next time I will certainly read the directions and maybe watch a video or 5 before starting. I have done this before, many many times with much success but it was with yarn. Roving behaves differently  and when I thought there wasn’t enough dye on it, I made more and kept pouring it on in a VERY random manner (leaving white areas that I figured would take up it excess …it did) . When I went to roll it up in the saran, the dye POURED out both ends all over everything. I finally got it under control and put it in the steam pot. I might have sworn then but I figured I was home free. (you know, I have done this many times blah blah blah)  Did I mention I couldn’t find any rubber gloves? Yeah. After getting it out of the steam pot. I let it cool and then ran it back to the shower to hang it to dry. It was at this point that I found all the dye had not set and was running all over the shower. With nothing to lose, I took the handheld shower head and sprayed it with warm water until it ran clear. If I don’t wind up with 5 ounces of felt I will be surprised.  It is now draining in the shower, looped over a hanger.  After rinsing, I liked the color better so maybe all is not lost.


This is what happens when you want to “just do a quick dye job to see how it looks” at the same time as I was trying to get things on my list taken care of (our power was out most of yesterday because of a wind storm so I was behind).  Next time I will set aside a whole day and do  nothing else, which is what I do when dyeing yarn.

Another thing I bought during the sale was 2 Louet S10 bobbins. They fit my Bea Classic spinning wheel very well and also give me different speeds (my wheel is 5:1).  My sister has a Louet and her flyer also fits my wheel, in case something horrible happens to mine. It is almost impossible to find parts for an old wheel so I am glad to have an option.

I hope everyone had a nice Holiday Season!