FibreDYE help page January 16 2016

Fibre dyeing is great fun! But it's also a skill that requires practice to achieve consistent results...

Results will also vary with local water conditions, fibre quality, temperature and other variables. The tips and guides below are for your guidance only and assume that you have a basic understanding of why wool felts and how to identify protein fibres. Use the following guides at your own risk. Please read the "Safety in use recommendations" (pdf)

Disclaimer: * We do not guarantee the result nor do we accept responsibility for the outcome of your dyeing. Dyeing is a craft requiring skill and experience and the colours and effects achieved will depend on many factors. Always test first especially where the results are more critical.

FAQ's 

What type of dye is FibreDYE?

The FibreDYE range is a good quality acid milling powdered dye designed for use with protein fibres such as wool, silk, angora, mohair and cashmere.You can use cleaned fleece, natural fibre tops, undyed wool, or woolen yarn balls from discount stores or your own stash (but not acrylics).

What colours are available?

The FibreDYE range consists of 16 colours including black which are inter-mixable to produce unlimited colourways plus a citric acid fixative.

How much dye will I need?

First prepare a 1% dye stock (liquid) consisting of 10g of FibreDYE powder in 1 litre of water. You can then calculate how much of this stock should be added to your dye bath (depending on the dry weight of the fibre) to achieve the shade required. Directions for preparing a 1% stock are shown below.

Fibre weight (dry) Dye bath water Pastel shade Medium shade Heavy shade
100g Enough to cover well 100ml of 1% dye  stock 200ml of 1% dye stock 300ml of 1% dye stock
500g Enough to cover well 500ml of 1% dye stock 1litre of 1% dye stock 1.5 litres of 1% dye stock

How do I make up a 1% dye stock?

The following will make a 1% dye stock ready to be added to the dye bath or kept in an airtight container until you are ready to use it.

  1. Put 10g of FibreDYE into a jug and add a little warm water to make a thin paste.
  2. Add 500ml of hot water and mix thoroughly until all of the dye is dissolved.
  3. Now fill up to 1 litre with cold water and mix. You now have 1 litre of 1% dye stock.

How are these dyes fixed?

FibreDYE needs acidity and heat. For every 100g of fibre add 5g (1tsp) of citric acid (or a good glug - 100ml of white vinegar) to the dye bath water to achieve a pH of around 3 to 4. The heat needs to applied for around 15 minutes at or near boiling point (95C - 100C). (Don't boil it to death!)

How can I check the acidity of my dye bath?

You can use litmus paper to check the pH level (acidity) of your dye bath. Simply dip a test strip in the water and watch it change colour. Match that colour on the chart supplied to read the pH level. You should be aiming for a reading of 3 to 4.

Do I have to soak the fibre first?

It is not essential but nit is good practice to give your fibre or yarn a good long soak then remove the excess water before you start. Sheep fleece should be thoroughly cleaned and de-greased with a good scour.

    Can I dye fibre on my cooker hob?

    Yes. Here's a simple hob and cooking pot method. Weights shown are dry weights. Remember to pre soak your fibre before you begin.

    1. Mix 10g of FibreDYE with 1 litre of water to make a 1% dye stock.
    2. For every 100g of fibre add 5g (1tsp) of citric acid (or a good glug - 100ml of white vinegar) to the dye bath water to achieve a pH of around 3 to 4.
    3. For each 100g of fibre add about 200ml of the prepared 1% dye stock to the dye bath.
    4. Now add the fibre to the dye bath and gently submerge.
    5. Slowly raise the temperature to boiling point (95C -100C) and simmer for approx 15 minutes. When all the dye has exhausted the water will be clear.
    6. Allow it to cool nice and slowly.
    7. Carefuly rinse and spin or drip dry.

     

      Can I dye fibre in the microwave?

      Yes. Here's a simple microwave method suitable for dyeing 100g (dry weight) of fibre at a time. Remember to pre soak your fibre before you begin.

      1. Pour a small amount of the 1% dye stock into a smaller container (ramekin dishes or large yoghurt pots are ideal). Use 2 - 5 colours or mix new ones!  Add citric acid to achieve a PH of 4 to 5
      2. Place the damp fibre onto a sheet of plastic cling film and lay out.
      3. Using a plastic syringe or dropper bottle add some of the dye stock to a portion of fibre. Add sufficient dye to almost saturate the fibre but avoid adding  too much as the excess will drain onto the cling film.
      4. Repeat using different colours until the fibre is covered. You can either overlap colours when going from one colour to the next or leave a small section of fibre uncovered... it's up to you!
      5. Roll the fibre in the cling film sealing the long edge but leaving the ends open. Place into a small plastic bag (optional) and then onto a microwave suitable dish with a lid - a glass casserole dish is ideal.
      6. Heat at a minimum setting for 10 minutes.
      7. Allow to cool.
      8. Remove fibre then gently rinse and spin or drip dry.

      Can I dye fibre in a steamer?

      Yes. Here's a simple recipie suitable for dyeing 100g (dry weight) of fibre at a time. Remember to pre soak your fibre before you begin.

      1. Pour a small amount of the 1% dye stock into a smaller container (ramekin dishes or large yoghurt pots are ideal). Use 2 - 5 colours or mix new ones!  Add citric acid to achieve a PH of 4 to 5.
      2. Place the damp fibre onto a sheet of plastic cling film and lay out.
      3. Using a plastic syringe or dropper bottle add some of the dye solution to a portion of fibre.  Add sufficient dye to almost saturate the fibre but avoid adding too much as the excess will drain onto the cling film.
      4. Repeat using different colours until the fibre is covered.  You can either overlap colours when going from one colour to the next or leave a small section of fibre uncovered... It's up to you!
      5. Roll the fibre in the cling film sealing the long edge and tying the ends of the film in a knot. Place into a small plastic bag and seal with a knot.  
      6. Place into the steamer and steam for at least 45 minutes.
      7. Allow to cool.
      8. Remove fibre then gently rinse and spin or drip dry.

      How do I know if the dye has set?

      Generally speaking the water in your dye bath should be clear indicating that all of the FibreDYE has been exhausted. 

      How can I get stronger colours?

      Either use more FibreDYE stock per 100g of fbre (dry weight) or begin by making up a stronger dye stock in the first place (ie: 2% or even 3%). Top tip: Buy your FibreDYE in money saving 25g packets!

      Can I over dye to hide stains?

      You can over dye time and time again with mixed results but really only from light to progressively darker shades - but our advice is not to bother trying to dye over stains to hide them as it rarely works satisfactorily.

      Where can I learn more?

      Dyeing is great fun but it is really an art that requires knowledge and experience to achieve consistent results. Often it's the mistakes that produce the prettiest results so don't be afraid to experiment!

      There are plenty of helpful books including The Ashford Book of Dyeing plus lots of advice available on the internet. Please read the 'Safety in use recommendations' below.

      You can also book a FibreHut dyeing class and learn how to use acid milling dyes to dye wool / fibre top in the microwave. It's easy when you know how, great fun and no experience is necessary. 

       * We do not guarantee the result nor do we accept responsibility for the outcome of your dyeing. Dyeing is a craft requiring skill and experience and the colours and effects achieved will depend on many factors. Always test first especially where the results are more critical.

      Download "Safety in use recommendations" (pdf)