Thursday, April 5, 2012

Dying wool roving

For my Easter Chicks project with the girls, I needed some yellow roving to felt.  So I decided to try dying some myself.  My biggest concern was that the dyeing process would felt the roving, so I was extra careful in my process.  It is essentially the same as when I dye wool.

1) Soak the roving in cold water and vinegar for several hours or overnight.  I used about 1/2 cup of vinegar, but you can use up to half and half.  Using the vinegar in the soak helps the roving to take the dye quickly, which helps prevent felting.

2) Heat water and vinegar in the slow cooker until it starts to steam.  I added some of the soaking liquid, and then about another 3/4 cup of vinegar.  Again, the more vinegar the quicker the dye will be taken up.  If you're using a non primary colour (or a mix of colours) more than 3/4 cup of vinegar will make the colours take up at different rates and can lead to some variegation that you didn't intend.

3) Turn the slow cooker down, add the roving pushing it down into the pretty hot liquid.

4) Add the dye (I used yellow food colouring because it's awesome).  Poke the roving gently to ensure dye gets on everything.

5) At this point I turned the slow cooker off, and left the roving sitting in it.  You can leave it until it cools down, but I can never wait that long - it needs to be in there for long enough to soak up as much of the dye as possible.  Poke it as little as possible.

6) Rinse the roving gently in cold water - again be very gentle during this process, and don't add any detergent.  I erred on the side of less rather than more washing, so when we felted our chicks, quite alot of yellow came out.  Since I only use non toxic dyes this isn't an issue for us.

7) Spread out your roving on a towel and leave to dry.

Enjoy your beautiful hand dyed roving in your next project.  Although there are a few steps, its actually really easy, and so satisfying.

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