Hand-Dyeing Fibre

This post was supposed to be written and posted at the beginning of the week, but I woke up on Monday morning feeling really ill…My head hurt, I had a runny nose and I was aching all over..You guessed it, I had the flu. The rest of the week has resulted in my lying on the couch coughing and sneezing very loudly (it’s okay hubby was working and the dogs have been outside so no-one heard me).

I am feeling a bit better now, I still have the runny nose (I look like Rudolph according to hubby) and coughing an awful lot, but the aches and pains have nearly gone.

Soooo, here is the post on hand-dyeing fibre which I have been promising since last year…

As you may remember a few years ago I had a really good offer of some Welsh Ewe fleeces off of a friend of my cousin for a £1 per fleece. I ended up having all 35 fleeces as the farmer said I may as well have the lot. Most of them had to be thrown away as they were too manky to use, but the rest I decided to wash and dye as I could not face spinning sooo much white fibre..

I washed quite a lot of the fleece during the Summer and then back in August/September I decided to have a go a hand-painting the fibre batts. I have never hand-painted fibre, only kettle dyed it in a big pot with some white vinegar so was looking forward to this.

I decided to steam the dyed fibre in a large steamer which I hadn’t used very much and also to use some food colouring and Easter Egg dye along with some white vinegar to set the colour.

I had a lot of fun trying out the Easter Egg dye as I bought it from Dr Oetker online for something like 50p a pack which included the transfers etc (I donated the transfers to a friend of my mum’s for her grandchildern). I dissolved the tablets in some sauce bottles which had a small hole at the top and added a bit of vinegar and water.

I proceeded to lie the fibre batts on some clingfilm and splashed the different dyes all over the fibre. I decided to turn the batt over to make sure that the dye had gone through to the otherside and was surprised to see that it hadn’t so I splashed some more on, wrapped it up and put it in the steamer for 20 minutes.

Once the fibre had cooled a bit I took it out of the clingfilm and rinsed it. There was a lot of water in the clingfilm and the dye had merged into one colour.

I decided to try another batt as I still had some dye stock in the bottles and put a little less on the batt and steamed it again for 20 minutes. Again there was a lot of water and the dye had merged into more or less one colour.

I had another couple of goes and had the same results, so once dry, re-carded them and they looked really good.

The next weekend I tried dyeing with food coluring (again from Dr Oetker) and had more or less the same results.

I have tried dyeing the batts pre-wetted and also dry and both times they came out near enough the same. I have also tried painting just one side of the batt.

Even though the results weren’t as I expected I was still pleased with them…What do you think???

bumbleberry bliss 2

bumbleberry bliss

coral candy twist 2

coral candy twist

crystal dawn 2

crystal dawn

cotton candy 2

cotton candy

grape snowcone 3

grape snowcone 4

fairy mist

fairy mist 2

grape-alicious 2

grapealicious 5

sky high 2

sky high

purple haze 2

purple haze 3

tangerine dreams 2

tangerine dreams

Some of the above batts are still available at my Etsy shop which you can get to via the link on the left hand side of this post.

If you have any suggestions on where I may be going wrong then please let me know, either by commenting below or by PM’ing me either here or on Ravelry (my username on Ravelry is Knitterscarlet).


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