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Monday, 18 November 2013

The Dye that Wouldn't Die

A few days ago Tammy came up to our house for a bit of help dyeing a child's cardigan. The wool was from her neighbours' sheep (Rob sheared them earlier in the year and they gave all the fleeces to Tammy).  She wanted to make something for them to say thank you, and decided it would be nice to make their little girl (2 years old) a cardigan.  She spun all the wool and then passed it on to another neighbour to knit.

The plan was to leave the cardigan the natural fleece colour and add some little wooden toggles as fasteners, but when it was knitted up it became apparent that the wool was two different shades and really didn't look good.  So the dyepot it was!  Tammy picked a really nice raspberry-coloured dye (Landscape Dyes) and we weighed out enough to dye the cardigan.  I don't have a photograph yet of this, but it did look really stunning when finished.

There was still quite a bit of colour left in the dyepot afterwards, and as Tammy had no further use for it, I just had to dye some skeins myself.  Couldn't waste it!  I put in two skeins of alpaca/silk and heated it through.  I was surprised at the depth of colour from this second dye session.  I was even more surprised that there was still a fair amount of colour left after I'd removed the skeins.  In went another one . . . and then another when that came out!

Here's the fourth skein (still very wet, but look at that colour!) :-

This one was merino/silk.

And there was still a decent amount of dye left in the pan.  Was this dye never going to die?  I'd run out of handspun skeins by then, so I stuffed in some Falkland fleece and gave that a go.  As you can see, it's not too shabby :-

By this time, the dye water was pale pink, so I decided to call it a day and throw the rest away.  I'm sure I'd still have achieved some colour from it though!


  1. For sure a long lasting colour. I like your result :)

  2. Thank you Mia - I really couldn't believe how strong this dye was. It probably dyed at least double the amount we expected. Must put Landscape Dyes on my shopping list!