On Thuesday, a lady came at our meeting of the Creative Fibre Guild, to explain us how to dye basically anything we want, with very little means and a disconcerting ease.
I had that dozen ugly balls of creamy wool which was sitting in my stash since such a long while… and decided to give a try and see how it would look like after soaking in a Red Cabbage bath.
Here is my first modest experience with dyeing.
– 2 teaspoons of Alum which is a chemical compound that you can buy from the chemist. The formula is AB(SO4)2·12H2O. Alum is a “mordant” which helps the dyeing adhere to the fibre, and insure brighter colors.
– 1 Red Cabbage
– A big bown, an old pan (not in aluminium) and a long fork that you won’t use for cooking anymore. Indeed, if Alum is not lethal, it’s not a good idea to cook with your dye instruments.
– 100 gr of creamy wool
– a cup of vinegar. This will fix the dye into the fibre.
Here are my materials. I chose to make 4 loose balls with the wool, by doing this, I thought it would create pressure points for the dyeing, and give interesting color nuances.
Cook the cabbage in boling water as usual, and transfer approximately 2 liters of the juice of cooking into a bowl.
Add to it two teaspoon of Alum, stirr well, and while the water is still hot, pour the mixture on the wool waiting in the pan (and keep the extra liquid into a bowl, so that you can use it later for another experience)
Press the balls toroughly to allow the liquid to extirpate air bulles and help the liquid penetrate into the fibres.
Allow the wool soak into hot water for one hour. Don’t make it boil or your wool would start felting. Keep on pressing the balls with your fork from time to time.
Then, add the vinegar and leave it for the night. My wool soaked for around 17 hours.
Then, gently wash the wool in fresh water with a bit of your favourite hair shampoo. Let it try in the sun…
The result is amazing. I now have 100 gr of a beautiful Lilac. No spectacular effect caused by the fact the wool was dyed as a ball, but the colors have definitely interesting nuances. I plan to crochet a handbag with my original production. Or should I make a hat?