Friday, March 20, 2009


Posted by Peg in South Carolina

I let the dye pot sit overnight with the yarn in it. That way all the possible dye that could attach to the yarn would. I need not have worried.


When I looked at the dye pot the next morning, the water was nowhere near clear. With these kinds of dyes, unlike with the MX dyes, the dye pot is supposed to exhaust, if not completely, almost completely. The result is very little rinsing needs to be done.

Not so here. I pulled the yarn out of the pot, squeezing out as much of the dye liquor as I could, and dropped it into the waiting rinse water. Within seconds the rinse water was so darkly stained I could not see the yarn in the water! I was in trouble.

I rinsed and i rinsed and I rinsed, making very little progress. I was getting tired. So I started letting it soak in hot, hot water for 30 minutes at a time. About five hours later I had made some progress………


I started contemplating the fact that part of the dye was a bit of washfast acid magenta. I had recalled that that was a dye that tended to bleed. I went to Paula Burch’s site called All About Hand Dyeing. I was right. So I did one more hot soak. I observed that the red had changed in hue. Indeed, it did look like the washfast acid magenta. Then I rinsed in cold water. Hardly any dye. Then I rinsed in cold water with a bit of vinegar which I was sure the yarn deserved after all its travails in rinse water.

Did I mention that I made a mess on the countertop? I did not put down my usual oil cloth, as I had anticipated an easy rinsing with little or no dye left in the water. All I put down were newspapers. The remaining dye was so intense it bled through the papers to the counter. I will have a lot of cleaning up to do. I will tell DH to think of them as blueberry stains………

I removed the yarn from the vinegar rinse water, squeezed all the water I could out and placed it inside a terry bath towel which I promptly stomped on with full body weight to get rid of more water. I took it to the bathroom. I slapped it against the tub a few times, then snapped it vigorously a few times. i repeated this process a couple of times and then hung it to dry. Wet, the yarn looks positively black, though I know it isn’t.

So the question of the day is:


The answer in general is obvious. Way too much dye powder. Way way too much dye powder. But the specific answer as to how this happened is more nebulous. Somehow in my calculations I got very very confused.

So I went back to my trusty Ashford Book of Dyeing and re-read its instructions and then re-read my dyeing instructions for this piece. And here is what I discovered: I was using calculations based on 1 kilo (i.e., 1,000 grams) of fiber! 30 grams of dye will dye 1 kilo of fiber at 3% depth of shade. I was dyeing 100 grams of fiber. If my arithmetic is correct, I had used 10 times as much dye powder as I needed to use.

My face is so red. This was not even an arithmetic error. It was a failure to read the top of the chart in the book.

Related Posts:
I Really Ought Not to be a Dyer
Dyeing Miscalculations
I Ought Not to be a Weaver

Dyeing the Skein” was written by Margaret Carpenter for Talking about Weaving and was originally posted on March 20, 2009. ©2009 Margaret Carpenter aka Peg in South Carolina


bspinner said...

We all can learn from you mistake. Thanks for sharing.

Peg in South Carolina said...

You are welcome!

Holly said...

We're suppose to read the instructions? Darn! I hate to read instructions! That is so not me.

Leigh said...

Interesting series Peg. Your learning experience is excellent for us all. I seriously doubt there is such a thing as 100% consistently error free anything!

Gwen said...

Hi Peg!
Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and taking the time to say hi! I'm using Deborah Chandler's book, Learning to Weave - it came highly recommended to me from many, many people, so I took it for granted that it's a bit of a "classic".
And yes, someday, I'm hoping to weave yardage for my own sewing projects. But, who knows, maybe like you I'll find that other reasons to weave appeal to me more...
I'm happy to find your blog - it looks like a lot of tutorials and other helpful information! I'm looking forward to exploring it... :)
Take care,

Peg in South Carolina said...

Holly, unfortunately, paying attention to the printed word can be helpful.....sob.....
Leigh, thank you for your comment. I cannot imagine weaving anything without, at some stage, multiple errors.
Gwen, thank you for stopping by and commenting.