Tag Archives: how to dye

Madder Root Dye

Madder Root Dye Recipe for Linen, Cotton and Cellulose Fibres

All cellulose fibres, yarns and fabrics must be scoured prior to mordanting or dyeing. Please see my previous article on how to do this.
How to Scour Linen

For these samples, I used several different linen and cotton fabrics as well as wool yarn.

Linen and Cotton Fabric Samples
Linen and Cotton Fabric Samples

Unbleached Cotton
Bleached Linen
Linen/Cotton Blend
Natural Linen (light weight)
Natural Linen (heavy weight)

Madder Root Dye Recipe
for 100 grams of fibre
20 grams Indian Madder Root powder – Rubia Cordifolia
Put Madder Root dye powder into dye pot.
Let simmer in dyepot for +1 hour at 50 deg.
Add pre-mordanted wool yarn and sample fabrics.
Let simmer in dyepot for +1 hour.
Remove the wool yarn. Let this cool and rinse thoroughly to remove the excess dye powder.
Turn the heat off the dyepot and leave the linen and cotton samples to soak overnight. More colour will continue to develop as the dyebath cools.

Indian Madder on Linen and Cotton
Indian Madder on Linen and Cotton

Himalayan Rhubarb Plant Dye
Eucalyptus Leaf Plant Dye
Brazilwood Plant Dye

Paivatar – Plant Dyed Wool Yarns
Look for some of my plant dyed yarns at my PaivatarYarn Shop on Etsy.

Plant Dyed Wool Yarn
Plant Dyed Wool Yarn

Natural Dyes
Anne Georges
Wild Colours

Natural Dye Books

Indigo from Seed to Dye

Indigo: Dye It, Make It: Techniques from plain and dip-dyeing to tie-dyeing and batik, in natural indigo blue

Wild Color, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes

Natural Dyes

The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing: Traditional Recipes for Modern Use

Dyes and Mordants on Ebay

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Crockpot Dyes: aa022304

Since I am now living in a small flat in London, I have had to change my dye methods to working in a small space. I purchased a couple of crockpots (slow cookers) and these seem to be working quite well. A 3.5 litre crockpot is large enough to dye about 100 – 150 grams of yarn at a time (about 4-6 oz) .

The slow cookers that I purchased are oval in shape and quite shallow. If I had my preference, I would have liked to buy a slightly larger size and possibly a round shape (hoping that the round ones would be deeper, to make it easier to dip dye the yarn)

Also, the magenta or red colour dyes require a higher heat than the cyan or yellow, to absorb properly into the yarn. Crockpots don’t always give a very good high heat, so it is best to heat the water on the stove. The slow cookers that I bought are not able to be used on the stove as well, so I have to use a regular cooking pot for the magenta dyebath.

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Basic Steps for Crockpot Dyeing

– Using 3 Prime Colours (cyan, yellow, magenta)

(I use CIBA Acid Dyes) and 2 Crockpots and one regular stove pot – 1 Crockpot for Cyan, 1 for Yellow and Magenta in the stove pot.

Fill the Slow Cookers with Hot Water

Turn the Slow Cookers onto the Hot setting

Add a Tablespoon of Vinegar

Add Dye to the Slow Cooker

Wind the yarn into dye skeins and tie loosely in several places, so that the skeins don’t tangle once they are in the dyepot. I wound skeins of approx. 25 grams each.

Rinse the skeins in hot water and make sure they are thoroughly wet, or the dye will be uneven.

Place the wet skeins into the dyepots and let them sit for about 20 minutes to absorb the dye. Stir the dyepots frequently in order to get even colour distribution.

To get additional colours, remove 2 dye skeins from the cyan dyepot and place 1 in the yellow dyepot and 1 into the magenta.

Similarly, remove 2 from the yellow and place them into the cyan and magenta.

And remove 2 from the magenta and place them into the cyan and yellow.

Let them sit in the dyepots for about another 10-20 minutes.

You can continue to move skeins from one dyepot to another to get different colours, until all the dye has been exhausted from the dyepot – The water will be clear.

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Dyes

Kool-aid Colors

Dye Information

Natural Dyes

Natural Dye Books

Wild Color, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes
This comprehensive book outlines all the necessary equipment, how to select fibers and plant parts, choose the right methods for mordanting and dyeing, test color modifiers and the fastness of dyed colors, and obtain a range of gorgeous colors from every plant, from alter to woad, shown in more than 250 swatches.
UK: Wild Color

The Dyer’s Garden
This comprehensive guide walks readers through a garden season from design to planting to harvesting for the dyepot.
UK: Dyer’s Garden

Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles
Using dyes of the leaves, roots, and flowers to color your cloth and yarn can be an amazing journey into botanical alchemy. In Eco Colour, artistic dyer and colorist India Flint teaches you how to cull and use this gentle and ecologically sustainable alternative to synthetic dyes.
UK: Eco Colour

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3 to 120 Dye Study Project

This is a dye exercise that allows you to create over 120 dyes using just 3 colours. The 3 prime colours of dye are used – Cyan(Green/Blue), Magenta (Hot Pink) and Yellow. In this project, start with 3 large dyepots of dye. For each dye skein you will add a bit of colour from the other dyepot, to change the shade of color slightly. I used pure wool yarn for this dye project.

Dyepot 1 – Magenta to Cyan

Dyepot 2 – Cyan to Yellow

Dyepot 3 – Yellow to Magenta The colours will move progressively through the colour chart, changing from one prime colour, until the ending prime colour is reached.

The first time that I did this exercise, I wove all the dye samples into a rya tapestry.

3 To 150 Rya Rug
3 To 150 Rya Rug

The Dye Study
This is a dye exercise that allows you to create over 120 shades using just 3 dye colours. The 3 prime colours of dye are used – Cyan(Green/Blue), Magenta (Hot Pink) and Yellow.

In this dye project, I dyed about 15 lbs. of yarn. I have adjusted the instructions to a smaller amount of yarn. The amount of dye used will vary depending on the type of dyes that you are using. The procedure will be the same.

Repeat this exercise 3 times for the 3 different colour ranges.
Use 1 lb. of yarn for each colour range. Divide the yarn into 40 equal size skeins. Rinse the dye skeins.

You will need 2 large dyepots. Fill each dyepot with 4 litres of water. Add suffficient dye to each to make a fairly strong colour (enough to dye 1 lb of yarn). I used a CIBA acid dye, so I added vinegar to each dyepot to set the dyes.

Magenta to Cyan
Colour Range 1

Rya Rug Dye Study

For Colour Range 1
– I worked from the Magenta dyepot and added a bit of Cyan to change the colour.

Put the Magenta dyepot on the stove and heat until the dye solution is fairly hot. Add
1 dye skein and let it sit in the dye for about 20 minutes. Remove the dye skein, let it cool and rinse in cool water To create 40 different colours, the second dyepot solution is divided into 40 equal portions.

4 litres of water / 40 = .10 litres each

Using a measuring cup, measure out .10 litres of dye solution (Cyan)

Add .10 litres of Cyan to the Magenta dyepot and stir.

Put the 2nd dye skein into the Magenta dye mixture and let sit for about 20 minutes.

Remove the dye skein, let cool and rinse.

For the 3rd colour, measure another .10 litres of Cyan. Add this to the Magenta dyepot.

Put the 3rd dye skein into the Magenta dyepot. Let it sit for 20 minutes. Remove the dye skein, let cool and rinse.Repeat this procedure until all 40 skeins have been dyed.

Yellow to Magenta

Rya Rug Dye Study

Colour Range 2 – Yellow to Magenta

For Colour Range 2
I worked from the Yellow dyepot and added a bit of Magenta to change the colour.

Put the Yellow dyepot on the stove and heat until the dye solution is fairly hot. Add
1 dye skein and let it sit in the dye for about 20 minutes. Remove the dye skein, let it cool and rinse in cool water To create 40 different colours, the second dyepot solution is divided into 40 equal portions.

4 litres of water / 40 = .10 litres each

Using a measuring cup, measure out .10 litres of dye solution (Magenta)

Add .10 litres of Magenta dye solution to the Yellow dyepot and stir.

Put the 2nd dye skein into the Yellow dye mixture and let sit for about 20 minutes.

Remove the dye skein, let cool and rinse.

For the 3rd colour, measure another .10 litres of Magenta. Add this to the Yellow dyepot.

Put the 3rd dye skein into the Yellow mix dyepot. Let it sit for 20 minutes. Remove the dye skein, let cool and rinse.

Repeat this procedure until all 40 skeins have been dyed.

Cyan to Yellow

Rya Rug Dye Study

Colour Range 3 – Cyan to Yellow

For Colour Range 3

– I worked from the Cyan dyepot and added a bit of Yellow to change the colour.

Put the Cyan dyepot on the stove and heat until the dye solution is fairly hot. Add
1 dye skein and let it sit in the dye for about 20 minutes. Remove the dye skein, let it cool and rinse in cool water To create 40 different colours, the second dyepot solution is divided into 40 equal portions.

4 litres of water / 40 = .10 litres each

Using a measuring cup, measure out .10 litres of dye solution (Yellow)

Add .10 litres of Yellow dye solution to the Cyan dyepot and stir.

Put the 2nd dye skein into the Cyan dye mixture and let sit for about 20 minutes.

Remove the dye skein, let cool and rinse.

For the 3rd colour, measure another .10 litres of Yellow. Add this to the Cyan dyepot.

Put the 3rd dye skein into the Cyan mix dyepot. Let it sit for 20 minutes. Remove the dye skein, let cool and rinse.

Repeat this procedure until all 40 skeins have been dyed.

Dye Study Blues

Rya Rug Dye Study
Rya Rug Dye Study
Dye Study Yellow

Rya Rugs
History of the Rya Rug
Rya Rug Repair
Finnish Rya Rugs
Hemp Rya Tapestry

Rya Tapestry Books

Hand-made C.U.M. Rya Rugs

Techniques of Rya Knotting

Hooked rugs & ryas;: Designing patterns and applying techniques

Dye Lessons

Dyes and color in the classroom.

Easter Egg Dye Project
How to dye some eggs and wool this Easter with natural dyes you can find in your kitchen.

Red Cabbage and pH
Adding vinegar to red cabbage dye turns it red, adding baking soda or ammonia turns it green or blue.

Natural Dye Lesson Plans
Make dye with blueberries, onions, spinach

Natural Dyes
Goldenrod, walnut; dyes of the 18th and 19th Century

Fish Silk Resist
Painting on silk – with a fish theme

Color and Dye Chemistry
How light is perceived as color

Dye Information
Information about working with dyes and colour.

How to Make a Dye Box
Instructions for how to make a dye box in order to stay safe when working with chemicals.

How to Make a Solar Oven

Natural Dyes
Information and dye recipes for using natural and vegetable dyes and mordants.

Synthetic Dyes
Information about working with synthetic dyes and how to dye yarn.

Dye Books: Beginner Dyeing

Color by Accident: Low-Water Immersion Dyeing
A guide for creating one-of-a-kind fabrics with 54 dye recipes.
UK: Color by Accident

The Yarn Lover’s Guide to Hand Dyeing: Beautiful Color and Simple Knits
A variety of hand-dyeing processes, including faux ikat, quick stovetop techniques that yield tons of color; space dyeing, a way to dye already knitted pieces; and trouble-free methods for immersion and handpainting.
UK: Yarn Lovers Guide to Hand Dyeing

Yarns to Dye For
Instructions are provided for choosing materials and equipment, skeining and preparing yarn, and painting and dyeing yarn.
UK: Yarns to Dye for

Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece: Custom-Color Your Favorite Fibers with Dip-Dyeing, Hand-Painting, Tie-Dyeing, and Other Creative Techniques
Kindle Version:
Hand-dye yarn and fleece right in the kitchen using dip-dyeing, tie-dyeing hand-painting, and other inventive techniques.
UK: Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece

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Rainbow Dye Silk: aa041400a

Rainbow Dyed Silk

An easy-to-knit pattern that uses handspun silk yarn. A Dice Block design gives a simple but effective finished edge to the stockinette stitch, knit of rainbow-dyed shimmering silk, reminiscent of mother of pearl. The Dice Block is repeated across the shoulders of the back, adding extra interest to the design. A square neckline and short, set-in sleeves make this top a delightful addition to your summer wardrobe.

The tussah silk top was Rainbow Dyed prior to handspinning.

tussah silk roving

Hand dyed silk top

This method of rainbow dyeing can be used on wool, silk, mohair or other protein-based fibeers. For this sweater project, I used 8 ounces of tussah silk top.

  • Thoroughly wet the silk top. This will allow the dye to be absorbed more readily.
  • Fill a large pot with hot water.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar to the dyepot and stir.
  • Add 2 – 4 oz. of fibre or yarn into the dyepot.
  • Using the end of a chopstick, dip it into the dye powder and then place the dye into the edge of the dyepot.
  • With another chopstick, dip it into another colour of dye powder and place the dye into the dyepot on the other side of the dyepot.
  • If using 3 or more colours, repeat the previous steps.
  • If dyeing more wool, place another layer of wool into the dyepot and repeat, changing the location of dye placement.
  • Allow dyepot to simmer at least 20 minutes, or until all the dye has exhausted.
  • If the dye is exhausted before you have sufficient colour, you can add more dye, by gently lifting the edge of the fibre and adding more dye. Simmer for another 20 minutes, if you have added more dye.
  • If there is still dye in the dyepot and the fibre isn’t absorbing more colour, then add a bit more vinegar.
  • When you have achieved the colour that you want, turn off the heat and allow the dyepot to cool.
  • Remove the dyed fibre from the dyepot, squeeze out excess moisture and let dry.



This was a good quality silk top, and easy to spin, but the dye process caused the fibre to be a bit sticky and more difficult to handle. A gentle teasing and pulling apart of the fibre before spinning made it easier much to spin. For really sticky silk, you can use hand cards or a drum carder.

Pull the roving apart into shorter sections, lengthwise. Feed it through the carder, a small amount at a time. As this was good quality, spinnable top to start with, all of it can be used. If some silk fibre sticks to the front roller of the carder, gently brush it off and feed it through the carder again.
dyed silk
drum carder

(Note: Although the silk sweater in the project is pink, the sample of the dyed silk is blue – I dyed more silk in order to take this photo)


I spun the silk using the smallest whorl on my spinning wheel. 20:1. Silk should be spun with a fairly tight twist. I spun this yarn as a 2 -ply at 12 tpi and 1200 ypp.

Silk Top Knitting Pattern

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How to Make A Dye Box: aa012600

Dyeing can be a fun and simple way to experiment and can give your projects your own special
touch. Whether dyeing fibre, yarn or fabric, it is really important to remember that you are
working with chemicals that can be hazardous to your health. A few simple precautions will
keep you safe and healthy (even Kool-Aid dyes are a chemical).

Do not use the same pots or utensils for dyes that you cook with. Try not to do your dyeing
in the kitchen. I use an electric hot plate and do my dyeing outdoors when weather permits,
otherwise, in the basement.

If you are using hot liquids, use standard precautions, as you would when you are cooking
foods. Burns can be quite nasty.

Wear rubber gloves. Although many dyes on the market state that they have no demonstrated
health risk, it is better to be safe. Dyes on the hands are also unattractive.

Dye powders can be irritating to your lungs. Wear a mask. Powder dyes can also travel
through the air quite well, making marks on your ceiling, clothing, carpets, etc.

During one of our recent Chat sessions, Sandra told us about the Dye Box that she made. She
used a large cardboard box and cut a flap into it. The dyes are mixed inside the box, reducing
the amount of dye that can escape and travel airborne to undesirable locations. Great idea,
Sandra!

After viewing this article, Roberta Miglin sent in this additional tip. Thanks, Roberta!

 

Another safe guard for the dye box is to wet the inside of the box so when the dye starts
to fly it will stick to the box. You can do this with a mister and lightly mist the inside.
Hope this helps someone stay safe.

Roberta Miglin

How to Dye Yarn

How to Dye with Madder
Alum Mordant
Crockpot Dyes

Dye Books: Beginner Dyeing

The Dyer’s Garden
This comprehensive guide walks readers through a garden season from design to planting to harvesting for the dyepot.
UK: Dyer’s Garden

Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles
Using dyes of the leaves, roots, and flowers to color your cloth and yarn can be an amazing journey into botanical alchemy. In Eco Colour, artistic dyer and colorist India Flint teaches you how to cull and use this gentle and ecologically sustainable alternative to synthetic dyes.
UK: Eco Colour

Natural Dyes
UK: Natural Dyes

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Weaving Project – Painted warp: blpaintwarp

While you can paint warps while on the loom, that sounds too messy for me.

This is a method that I learned while taking a workshop with Eileen Hett and Mary Berg. The way I painted my tencel warp using Procion MX dyes was as follows:

Wind warp. Tie cross firmly, but try and use a different type of fibre from your warp yarn (eg use protein fibre if warp is cellulose fibre). My warp was short so I didn’t use any choke ties. For a longer warp I would have made figure 8 ties about every 2 yards or so to prevent major tangling.

Weigh your warp while dry and record weight (needed for dye process).

Soak your warp in water and with appropriate amount of fixative (either soda ash for cellulose fibres like tencel and cotton, or vinegar for protein fibres like silk or wool) for about 30-60 minutes (I got figures for amount of water and fixative from “Hands On Dyeing” book)

Cover surface (floor, large table, etc) with wax paper or something to protect it. Then cover that with plastic wrap the length of your warp.

Remove warp from water/fixative solution and squeeze out excess water. Lie warp on prepared surface, spreading warp as much as possible. Remove ties if you have used them.

Paint your liquid dye solutions on using paint brush, sponge, syringes, whatever you can think of. Make sure dye gets through to back/bottom yarns in warp, and doesn’t pool underneath warp.

Once you are done, roll the warp in the plastic wrap and leave 24 hours, then rinse and leave to dry. This is how I did mine….. others might have different methods. Also if you use weak acid dyes, you need to steam or heat warp to set it after painting.

Hope this helps (and that I haven’t left anything out!) If you have questions, please ask and I will try and help. This was a relatively new experience for me too, and lots of fun!

Sandra

tencel scarf

How to Dye

How to Make a Mirror Warp
Kool-Aid Colors
Using Synthetic Dyes

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Natural Dyes – Brazilwood: blbrazilwood

Brazilwood
A natural dye plant that gives reds, purples, and pinks and corals.. Brazilwood can be obtained from several trees: Haematoxylum brasiletta, Caesalpinia sappan, C. echinata

Time Required:

4 hours

  • Use clean, premordanted wool or yarn.
  • Measure the brazilwood (100% – 200% WOG) into a small dish.
  • Add alcohol to cover and let stand for 2 hours.
  • Put treated Brazilwood into a nylon stocking and add into dyepot filled with hot water and simmer for 1 hour.
  • Add premordanted fibre or yarn into the dyepot and simmer for 1 hour.
  • Allow the dyepot to cool.
  • Remove the fibre or yarn from the dyepot, rinse and let dry.
  • You can reuse the brazilwood chips in a later dyebath, though they will have less colour.
  • Try alum, or tin premordants.
  • Try ammonia for rich plum colours.

    Cotton/Hemp dyed with Brazilwood
    Alum Tara Powder Mordant

  • Natural Dye Recipes

    Brazilwood
    Madder Dye Recipe
    Sandalwood Dye
    Osage Orange Dye
    Logwood Dye
    Mushroom Dyes
    Brazilwood dye
    tin Mordant
    Rhubarb Leaf Mordant
    Alum Mordant

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