Yarn dyeing in the microwave

If you are using chemical dyes, you might want to have a different microwave from your  family one to process colouring wool and fibre. You can use food colouring which would be a safe option in a family microwave. It is good to talk to people who are familiar with the process so that you get all the tips. The video shows you the process for food colours. Jan 1 sent us a link with very clear instructions  from the Virginia Farm Woolworks for if you want to use Landscape dyes or powder dyes.  At our dyeing workshop we were using Earth Palette cold dyes because that is easy for beginners but still produces effective dyeing. Little Craft Mouse has a good blog post with a video to show you how to use powder dyes and citric acid. Make sure you protect yourself from stains with rubber gloves and an apron!


An eye for colour

dyed wool battWho, but Alexis, would know the dyed wool batt next to her electronic spinner is going to turn into a yarn which fits the Pantone 2018 profile? It is no accident Alexis has this keen sense of colour nor can you merely pass it off as talent. It is skill. It is knowledge. It is experience. If Alexis is good with colours and can produce attractive results it is because she has applied herself to knowing all about colour. Not all of her wool is naturally dyed like the pictures here, but she is an expert in natural dyes and uses them a lot. She can match colour and project easily.

dyed wool

natural dyesShe has a journal where she has collated her dyeing with natural colour so she can see exactly what she is going to produce and has a record of it to refer to. Marjorie is another one in the group who keeps careful notes about her dyeing and it’s the reason these two know a lot about dyeing. Jan knows a lot about colour because she has always worked and experimented with it. Alexis has moved away from as many chemicals as she can these days and has a sound knowledge of natural mordants and ways of improving colour without harming yourself or the environment. Her knowledge is helping us all to move onto safer and more sustainable ground because personal health and looking after the environment are important , aren’t they? Alexis will sometimes use rusty nails and bolts to help the uptake of colour but she happily subscribes to natural mordants.

She recommends the following books as valuable sources of information for natural dyes:

Dyes from natural sources – Anne Dyer ( 😀 )

Shetland Dye Book  – Jenni Simmons

Traditional Scottish Dyes – Jean Fraser

Alexis also works with local plants for colour and is particularly fond of eucalyptus:

Eucalyptus Dyes 

Alexis is always a good person to ask about colour and how to match colour because she knows and she knows because she has learned all about it.


Dyed wool

dyed wool
Colour feast of dyed wool

Dyed wool can come into your life all sorts of ways! Dyeing wool is both an art and  a real skill. You have to be able to dye wool competently and then choose appropriate colours which work together. Dyeing can be done in different ways. The video shows one way. Care and knowledge are essential. Our show and tell table this week was such a colourful sight which we were so enthusiastic about. The amount of time and effort which had gone into the colour choices and then creation of the wool was impressive and gave a colourful overview of what can be achieved with wool dyeing.

Marjorie shared a skein of spun yarn wool/silk & alpaca in grey.

Margaret knitted beret from spun dyed fleece from  Susie Horn’s.

Jan  shared a spun skein of Alexis’ dyed turquoise tops.

Janette  brought 3 lovely balls of spun wool in aqua/white/grey. The colours were so soft.

Alexis brought in her 5 latest dyed coloured tops which were instantly popular and created a lot of colour discussion, 2 carded batts which had some beautiful colours  & a skein of spun dyed fleece in light pastel colours.