Tuesday, March 08, 2011

My method of "tri-color" dying....

Several people have contacted me, asking me how I did the mohair locks three different colors at the same time, in one jar.  So, I thought I'd show you how I did it...

I use several 1/2 Gallon, glass jars and a turkey roaster that I bought specifically for dying fiber in.  This time, I used "Cushings" dye powders for colors.  I've used them in the past and always been happy with the colors and the color-fastness of the finished fiber.

I forgot to take pictures for the first two layers so I'll just explain what I did.  The process is the same for all three with the exception of there not being any fiber in the jar at the beginning. 

I start by sprinkling the desired amount of dye on the bottom of a jar.  (I do not measure ~ Yes, I'm one of "those" people)  I add enough boiling, or near boiling, water to dissolve the dye powder.  Once the powder is dissolved, I add enough hot water and a "glug" of white vinegar to just cover the first layer of fiber (which has NOT been added yet).  Then I add the first layer of mohair locks ~ which I first soak in hot water with dish soap added. 

Apparently, I left my dish soap at the B & B that we had the retreat at, so today I had to use a little liquid laundry soap.  I don't rinse the locks, just squeeze out the soapy water before putting them in with the dye mixture. 

Put in enough locks to take up all of the solution in the bottom of the jar and then add another layer of locks on top of the first one.  There will be some seepage of color from the bottom layer to the next one.  That's OK and normal.  I try to select colors that will meld into a pleasing color where the two come together.   In the locks I died at the retreat, I figured that the green would blend with the blue, to form a nice blue-green/teal, and the garnet would blend with the blue to make a purple-ish color...

The colors didn't come out exactly as I thought they would, but I was pleased with the end result.

Today, I chose to put "rose" in the bottom of the first jar, followed by  a layer sprinkled with "buttercup yellow", and then "Copenhagen blue" on the top layer.  For each layer, except the first ~ where the dye-water solution is prepared first ~ sprinkle the dye on top of the fiber and then add just enough water to liquefy the dye.  I do not quite cover the layers.  Rather, I gently push the fiber down into the liquid.  If you put too much water in and completely cover each layer with liquid, your colors will all get blended and muddy looking.  Not adding TOO much water is the secret to having three, distinct colors in one jar.

Above is my second jar.  It contains "rust" on the bottom layer, "apricot" in the middle and "violet" on top.  I put the jars into my turkey roaster and added hot water and "Egyptian red" dye to the  space left over in the roaster.

I added both silver and white, mohair locks to the water in the pan and sprinkled more dye on top of these locks.  I gently poked the locks down into the liquid.  I did use a bit more water for the locks in the pan to keep them from burning where they touch the sides of the pan.  I made sure that the water was as high as the locks along the edges.

There you have it!

If there's any color left over when I take the fiber out of the dye bath, I may just add this:

Shetland/Mohair blend roving and batt!

DREAM says...

"Mom will post again tonight to show you how the colors came out.  Come back and see us!  If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and Mom will try to answer them tonight.  She's not the best at giving directions.  Trust me ~ I know!"


  1. The colors you get are SO beautiful!

  2. Beautiful!Thanks for the tutorial!phyllis

  3. Oooooo! I know that kettle! I made several lovely teas with it :) Your coloring strategy sounds way too complicated for me, but it obviously works. good job mama :)
    PS- my security word tonight was "anticry" which i would liken to: mamas, kisses, kittens, and puppies. ...we have to play that game again :)

  4. I love the colors!! They are so bright and vibrant!! Just what I need right now--Color!!

    I hope you've had a good day Nancy!!

  5. I thought that was pretty clear and the results are so beautiful.I like that the colors blend just a bit into the next bunch. This is an very interesting way of dying.

  6. Wow. To someone who hasn't a clue, it seems kind of confusing, but it obviously works as you get really awesome looking yarn! :)

  7. OK, I am days behind, but those are GORGEOUS!!! I just love how the colors blend, and such rich vibrant hues! Just what we need with more snow coming. Snow is now officially a 4 letter word in my book. I can't wait to see the spun yarn, it is going to be yummy drool-worthy! Hope you had a good day with minimal dizziness!
    Katie in MN



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