That is the second in a sequence of articles as regards to dyeing wool, utilizing the three primaries, metric measurement, liquid dyestock, and percentage-based formulation. Within the first installment, I described an outline of the strategies I exploit to dye wool, and the reasoning behind them. On this installment, I’ll go into extra element concerning the gear I favor to make use of.

These strategies might be tailored for dyeing any sort of wool fiber, from fleece to roving to yarn, as a result of they’re primarily based on the load of the wool, somewhat than the size. The truth is, you can accommodate dyeing different fibers and supplies, as properly, utilizing related gear and the strategies I describe. Certainly, adapting all the data beneath and in future articles is feasible, with the seemingly want for changes to accommodate the dye product you might be utilizing and the fiber you might be dyeing. So even if you happen to dye silk, cotton or different fibers, learn on!


Following are concepts and ideas for provides to make use of – no less than, gear that has labored properly for me. On the finish of the article I’ll present hyperlinks and different details about the place to seek out these provides.


I all the time use white wool, or the lightest pure wool doable. This retains the buying of uncooked supplies to a minimal and in addition standardizes an necessary variable when analyzing fundamental colours. For example, when two related wool colours with the concept of making the colour between the 2, it will be far more troublesome if two totally different base colours have been used for the 2 items, making the dye formulation for the colours used to overdye them, due to this fact, very totally different. However discovering that ‘in-between’ coloration when two wool colours each created utilizing the identical three primaries on white or pure wool is far simpler. By standardizing the bottom coloration and utilizing solely main dyes, each formulation are associated. So the in-between coloration shall be produced utilizing a mathematical system someplace between the opposite two related mathematical formulation. If I make a mistake in mixing a system, I usually catch it when evaluating the ensuing coloration to the colours on both mathematical aspect of it, if it doesn’t observe the logical development of coloration, which colours do. This systematic strategy has created a predictability to dyeing that may be very satisfying and cozy. If I do desire a particular impact utilizing a distinct base coloration, I can all the time dye the white wool to this base, after which end the particular impact. I discover this occasional want for a two-step course of preferable to stocking many colours of wool.


I exploit ProChem washfast acid dyes, buying the three primaries that they provide. With these colours, it’s doable to supply a whole vary of colours in lots of values, from close to white to darkish black — nearly any coloration I’d ever need. Though plain greys and blacks could be produced with the primaries, I’ve discovered that these formulation do not work as properly for specialty results, similar to gradation dip dyes. The system will are inclined to separate into its elements as the colour develops, giving an unpredictable end result. Not that this may not be usable or fascinating in sure circumstances, it simply might not be what I’m after. So the preformulated black from ProChem is extra predictable, and due to this fact preferable, for distressing and antiquing, and for extremely mottled results. Fundamental browns and tans are additionally tougher to supply with consistency, so the informal dyer might need to inventory gray, black, and/or some browns, together with the primaries.


I do two sorts of dyeing, every with its personal course of and cooking vessels:

Trialing of colours on small items of wool, to seek out new colours
Dyeing massive items of wool for my very own use or on the market.

I trial colours on 4-gram items of wool (a scant 5″ X 5″ in 13-oz. wool), one piece in every of six beakers stuffed midway with water, in a dry casserole (simply to carry them–any secure non-metal vessel will do) cooked within the microwave. I exploit scientific beakers in a 300 ml dimension, as a result of they’re constructed to tolerate repeated heating and cooling with out breaking. They’re slender, so I discover them simpler to deal with, and I can match extra right into a pot or casserole. (Mason jars will work simply fantastic for the informal dyer.) I’ve trialed actually hundreds of items of wool, and I’ve discovered the microwave to be probably the most handy and positively probably the most cost-effective strategy. I’ve additionally tried placing beakers or jars in a water tub on the range and within the oven, however I discovered this course of to be extra time consuming and logistically tougher, so I’ve caught with the microwave. Chances are you’ll discover you like one other technique, so simply use no matter technique that fits you, so long as it will get the water simmering in every jar. When you do use your microwave, please be cautious when heating the water within the little pots. If it will get to a very good boil, typically it would unexpectedly ‘explode’ or ‘pop’, presumably burning you. Put on protecting gloves over your fingers and wrists when the water is close to boiling. In all my lots of of batches, this has occurred twice, and I obtained a nasty burn a type of instances.

For big items of wool, I exploit the usual chrome steel pots that many dyers use. In case you are utilizing an electrical range, it’s possible you’ll want to position one thing further between the burner and the wool, until you might be utilizing a very good, heavy pot. A skinny steel pot resting straight on the burner will trigger any wool laying towards the underside of the pot to seize the colour, inflicting darkish splotches. So you may have two choices. A spacer could be put between the pot and the burner, or a vegetable steamer could be positioned within the backside of the pot to forestall this. I favor the vegetable steamer myself, as a result of then I can defend the wool, whereas leaving the pot straight on the burner so the water heats up sooner. (I am all the time in a rush.)


I exploit a 3,000 gram digital scale that weighs to the closest gram, with a bin for holding wool. It’s compact, simple to make use of, not too costly, and does the job.

For small items I exploit 1-ml, 3-ml, 5-ml, and 10-ml syringes. For bigger items I change to 20-ml syringes, or 250 ml plastic beakers. For measuring even bigger quantities, I exploit the plastic pitchers graded to 1,000 ml from ProChem, and I’ve examined and located that the gradations on these bigger containers monitor fairly precisely with the ml gradations of the smaller syringes and beakers, so when measuring various quantities of dye, I really feel assured that if I measure a part of a system in a pitcher and a few in a really small syringe, that the ratios of the formulation will nonetheless be correct. I’ve tried different sizes in syringes and pitchers, however have discovered them to be much less dependable by way of the accuracy of their markings, though this will simply be an issue with the actual merchandise I’ve come throughout. For the informal dyer all of this might not be necessary, however if you’re into precision dyeing, it definitely does make a distinction, as my pile of reject colours will attest. And bear in mind that the markings do rub off after repeated use on many syringes, so attempt to keep away from touching the numbers and gradation traces as you’re employed.


I exploit Synthrapol or unique Daybreak liquid (very related, chemically) to cut back floor pressure whereas dyeing.

I exploit both citric acid or vinegar to cut back dye-bath pH, and if in case you have entry to “bitter salt” at cheap costs (it may be discovered typically at dented can shops) this additionally works, as a result of it’s straight citric acid. As most dyers will inform you, vinegar is far more costly to make use of over the long-term, so if you happen to plan to dye in amount, use citric acid, which can be extra handy and nice to make use of.

For stirring I exploit chrome steel chopsticks – they work nice when trialing colours in little pots, and in addition work fantastic in huge pots, too, for items as much as ½ yard. I bought a number of pairs and preserve them in a beaker full of water whereas dyeing. This retains them rinsed when I’m stirring a number of pots at a time with dramatically totally different dye colours in them, significantly if I stir a black in a single pot and a pale yellow within the subsequent. It’s wonderful how a tiny little bit of black dye clinging to the chopstick can alter the colour of a pale yellow. (Do not ask me how I do know.) I like them additionally as a result of they do not take up the dye and are compact and straightforward to retailer. Not nice for choosing up rice, although.

I exploit Glauber’s salt to maintain the colours even on the wool, which is how I promote it — simply evenly mottled. Salt molecules compete with the dye molecules to bond with the wool molecules, successfully slowing down the bonding of the dye to the wool, and thereby stopping the dye from ‘grabbing’ in blotches. For most colours this isn’t a problem with common stirring, and for many of the colours in my assortment, I do not use it. However for gentle browns, tans, greys, and a few very boring blues, greens and purples, it’s important for even coloration, significantly within the lighter values, as much as the medium ranges. I do not apply it to darker ranges, as a result of I discover that it dramatically retards the absorption of the yellow dye when there may be a whole lot of dye within the pot, usually doubling the processing time. When you favor an irregular coloration and/or do not thoughts a bit serendipity within the dyepot typically, omit the salt. If you wish to use it, I discover that plain desk salt additionally works fantastic.

Beneath are some sources for locating provides. I distribute these articles to a number of article websites, a few of which have strict limits on the variety of URLs one can use in an article, so I’ll give the names and belief you could find them simply on-line.

Dorr Mill – Wool (I’ve additionally used different sources, similar to Woolrich)

ProChemical & Dye – Dyes, plastic beakers, pitchers, citric acid, Glauber’s salt, Synthrapol

SKS – Glass beakers (Additionally out there at different science or lab provide websites)

Outdated Will Knott Scales, on-line – Scale (Search for the ‘My Weigh 3001P’) – Chrome steel chopsticks, vegetable steamer (Additionally discovered at different kitchen retailers)

Syringes Your native drugstore will usually offer you a number of slip-tip (with out needle) 1-ml syringes without cost if you happen to smile sweetly and do not ask too usually. (They could even have 3-ml syringes out there.) They supply these as a courtesy to anybody. I request 3-Four at a time. You can even discover 10-ml syringes on the drugstore for just a few {dollars}. These sizes are the mainstay of coloration trialing small items of wool, and I additionally often use them for bigger items — even when dyeing 1/2 yard, a 5% (pale) worth nonetheless solely requires 10 ml of dye. eBay and eCrater are additionally good on-line sources for syringes of all sizes. Search for veterinary syringes for bigger sizes (60-ml is widespread) though I’ve discovered the 250-ml pitchers from ProChem to be extra correct, and simply as simple to make use of. I’ve searched on-line medical provide firms for syringes with out a lot success, price-wise, however if you happen to ought to come throughout a very good supply, please let me know!

In case you want to have a concise and exhaustive listing of the gear you will want to do that technique, right here it’s. A lot of this you’ll have at house, or know the place to get with out my assist.

Solar Yellow dye 119
WF Magenta dye 338
Sensible Blue dye 490
Black dye 672
Brown dye (non-compulsory, additionally out there at ProChem)
Citric Acid or distilled vinegar
Glauber’s Salt or desk salt (non-compulsory)
Synthrapol or Daybreak dish liquid
Plastic pitchers — 5 – 6 in 250-ml dimension, 2 – Three in 1,000-ml dimension
(All the above could be discovered at ProChem.)

1-ml, 3-ml, 10-ml syringes
Digital Scale
Utility spoon for scooping dyes when weighing (any outdated teaspoon or measuring spoon will do)
Screw cap milk jugs (or smaller jugs if you happen to favor) for holding dyestock

As well as, if you’ll be trialing colours you will want:

6 – 12 Beakers or Mason jars
Casserole or different flat vessel
Microwave (ideally devoted to dyeing)
6-Eight Further small glasses or cups for mixing formulation shall be useful

Or for dyeing bigger items:

3-Four massive chrome steel or enamel pots, about 20-quart dimension
Vegetable steamers (non-compulsory)

I hope this data will get you began. Within the fourth installment, I’ll describe how I trial colours. It is a enjoyable undertaking that I assure will eat you if you’re not cautious! You will have to put aside a number of days for this, relying upon how thorough you need to be. I am unable to be held accountable if it turns into weeks. By then, your loved ones shall be hoping for soup cooking within the pots, as an alternative of wool — higher replenish on frozen dinners!


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