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 Dyeing Discussion
 Synthetic Dyes
 Favorite acid dyes?
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Gabber Extraordinaire

485 Posts

Posted - 08/15/2003 :  6:28:18 PM  Show Profile Send Phaedra28 a Private Message
I've tried a couple of different brands, and noticed some differences between the results. With one brand, the colors just didn't exhaust well; another didn't have as many colors, etc. Now I'm wondering what everyone's favorites are?

Also, how much vinegar and when to add it? Any comments? If it matters, these days I'm dyeing more roving than yarn, but mostly superwash merino. Some if it has turned out nicely, but I'm a little disappointed in most of what I've done lately. Anyone else having a dyeing slump?

Knittin Nurse
New Pal

30 Posts

Posted - 08/16/2003 :  11:17:20 PM  Show Profile  Send Knittin Nurse a Yahoo! Message Send Knittin Nurse a Private Message
I'm interested in hearing everyone's opinion too. Today I dyed some roving and some yarn for the first time and it actually seems to have turned out well, lol! I used the Wilton's icing colors and dyed the yarn royal blue/blue green/green and then used kool aid for some roving--cherry/black cherry/gold from the icing colors. The roving doesn't look or feel like it felted too badly--I guess I'll find out when I try to spin it!! I didn't want to buy a bunch of dyes and decide I didn't like them or didn't like dyeing (ok, farfetched I admit, but it was a possiblity). The yarn is knitting up well--it's not felted either and the variegated colors are turning out nicely. This was a trial run for dyeing a bunch of yarn for a sweater for my little boy and I think I'll stick with royal blue/blue green and leave the green out. And actually, I didn't saturate the yarn fully and the blue came out a bit variegated as well which looks nice. Since I was doing this in the microwave, I mixed a 3:1 water/vinegar solution and divided it into cups to dissolve the koolaid and the icing colors in and then just spooned/painted the color onto the dampened roving/yarn. Don't know if that's how it's supposed to be done, but hey, it worked! Now to decide how to dye the larger batch of yarn for the sweater--this was only about 30yds of handspun cormo 2-ply.

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Sustaining Member

945 Posts

Posted - 08/20/2003 :  07:50:04 AM  Show Profile  Visit BlueStocking's Homepage Send BlueStocking a Private Message
I've used both ProChem washfast acid dyes, and Cushing Dyes. I prefer the ProChem, because I do bigger batches and it's more ecomonical. But the Cushings are nice because they are premeasured in little envelopes. I haven't used the Lanaset/Sabraset dyes that ProChem also sells.

Cushing also has about 90 different shades, which is kind of fun. ProChem doesn't have nearly as many, but of course the mixing possibilities are endless. And that's part of the fun for me.

ProChem also has great directions on it's website for using it's dyes - handpainting and immersion. The amount of vinegar or citric acid depends on how much fiber you are dyeing, when dyeing immersion style (all one color). The acid is added to the water along with synthrapol and the diluted dye powder.Then the fiber is added to this dye solution pot.

The amount will also vary if doing hot pour, because the water level will depend on how much fiber you will be doing, and you'll need to use enough to get to the right pH level for the bath. Again, it's added directly to the water with the synthrapol. Then the fiber is added, and the dye poured onto it.

To handpaint, I usually spray on full-strength vinegar after I've painted the yarn or roving. It doesn't need to saturate the fiber, but I do spray both sides of yarn to be safe (though not roving or top; then I usually just spray the top well). You can also soak the fiber in a synthapol/acid soak, and then paint it. Though if I don't add acid to my dyes as well, I tend to worry that I'm diluting the acid with the dye/water, so I spray on extra vinegar to be sure. I know that Spingwater Fibers in Alexandria, VA, adds citric acid to their dye solutions and also uses citric acid water to dilute them ... but I can't remember the amount of acid they add to the water at this moment! Memory ain't what it used to be!

And here's a site with the Cushing Dyes color chart:


"What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?"
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