Trippin’ with Acid (Dyes)!

September 15, 2008 at 10:15 pm 1 comment

There’s something magical about dyeing with acid dyes — it’s all in the chemistry (and I’m no chemist!), but it’s such fun to see the fibers transform, and watch the color disappear from the water.  Done properly, you can dye all day, with a myriad of colors, and end the day with virtually clear water.  Really.

Acid dyes are used on protein fibers – wool, mohair, and all the other animal fibers as well as silk.  Nylon dyes with acid dyes as well.  Acid dyes DON’T work on cotton, linen and most synthetics.  There are plenty of directions and tutorials out there for how to dye with acid dyes, so I won’t go into exhaustive detail.  I’m a rather free-handed, intuitive dyer, so there’s not a recipe for how I do it anyway.  I will say that I use a turkey roaster as my dyepot (not one that I also use for turkey).  I find turkey basters useful too, and I like to let colors exhaust sequentially, and layer color on color.  It’s done when I say its done.  (I cook this way too).  The last two days I’ve cooked up a few goodies in my kitchen that I now share:


That’s a sweater’s worth of handpainted wool boucle hanging to dry, and shown close-up.  Soft and fluffy, some of my favorite colors, this batch might end up as a sweater for me. 

These next two are experients in overdyeing stripped, or brindled rovings.  I’m calling these “sylvan” and “bonfire” — no doubt about which is which!  My 7 and 9 year old boys just love the “bonfire.”

Then I did a test of overdying a roving with bits of silk yarn carded in.  Here’s the roving – the silk bits, of course, took the dye too, so I’m interested in seeing how that translates into yarn:

Some of this might end up on my etsy shop, but I’m also gearing up for several festivals/shows that I plan to attend this fall. More on all that in a future post – in the meantime if you fall in love with anything you see here, let me know – I’ll list it, or make more!


Entry filed under: dyeing. Tags: , , , .

Nature-Inspired Art Yarns Maybe “Daily” was too ambitious…

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Coffeemonkey  |  September 20, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    OoO…love those colors! Beautiful!


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