Dear fiber friends,
March has rolled in here in Massachusetts like a lion; winds, snow, ice and bitter cold. So whats a rug hooking person to do besides hook? Well, dye wool! I usually dye with a project in mind and I have several rugs planned for the next few months. So I thought I would show you what it’s like to dye in my home.
First I prepare my wool for dying and I’ve found its easy to rip my desired wool into fat quarters. I often use the same textured wool and dye it in two or more values of the same hue. I also like use the same texture with an entirely new color. I use my kitchen counter to lay out and measure my yardage. My counter top is nice and large and flat so accurate measuring is possible. I always soak my wool in Synthrapol to open the fibers in preparation of dying.
The next area I use in my kitchen is my stove top and the area next to the cook top. I cover the counter with a piece of cardboard so spills will be less likely to hit my counter top, make stains and contaminate any future food preparation. If the cardboard surface is damp it helps to trap any dye particles that dont make it into my glass mason jars. I place my kettle full of water and set it to boil and fill my white enamel pots. My dye equipment ( enamel pots, mason jars, measuring jars, and dye spoons) is only used for dying and never for food use!
I often use W. Cushing dyes or Prom chemical and refer to dye book recipes to get an idea of the end product. Dye books have been a good resource for me and I recommend them as a good foundation for your dying adventures. I often want to reproduce a hue and keeping notes is important. But for me, as well as others, city or well water changes and can effect your end results. Don’t forget to replace the plastic dye packet into the correct paper packet.
This is a photo of what my work area is like. You can see the cardboard, glass mason jars for holding dye, dye spoons and my special Bluette gloves which allow me to touch hot wool without being burned. when I’m done dying I clean up my dyes, swish my dye spoons in salt, wash my enamel pots with a little bleach and wipe my counter tops with a dilute bleach water solution. Done, safe and ready for regular kitchen use.
This is some of the fat quartered dyed wool that I’ve prepared for a special project I”m teaching this summer. I love to dye wool and wool yarn for punch needle and it brings my happiness level to a 10 out of 10, and dying at home is safe because I prep my area well.
Happy dying from Ellen’s Hooked Rugs.