A few of Wendy’s Sunday Quilters (my fandiddlytastic quilting group) and I are beginning to work on the Songbird quilt from Kookaburra Cottage Quilts . Wendy had suggested we do this one next. Trying wool applique was also on my Crafting Bucket List so I was all in. My friends are using cotton so it wil be fun to see the different versions.
Because I always want to try all the crafts I decided to dye my own wool. I spent a happy late afternoon (2/6/19) dyeing wool blanket bits. Bobby Duncan from Fabric By Three sold me some Procion dye powder at Kapiti Coast Quilters recent exhibition. I bought a blue, a red and a yellow so I could have fun mixing colours. I didn’t want to invest a lot of money if I wasn’t happy with my dyeing efforts. I won’t share the recipe Bobbi gave me because she runs a great business and sells gorgeous dyed wool and quilting cottoys.
This next bit is notes about how I put together my dyeing kit using what I had.
I had gradually accumulated the stuff I needed:
Face mask (donation from an intrigued health worker when I told her why I wanted to keep my mask)
Cream wool blankets (Dog blankets from the Op Shop)
Scissors for cutting up blanket bits. Next time I will cut up the blanket pieces using my rotary cutter.
Large plastic containers Cut down recycled large water bottles from my dentists’. I would like to get some wider, shallower containers so will keep my eagle recycling eyes out . These worked really well though and I enjoyed seeing the colours changing as the wool soaked up more and more dye.
I sawed a tiny hole using a cheap hacksaw blade and then cut the rest off using $2 shop scissors. It worked a treat. I did try using a soldering iron to cut the plastic and sawing them off cos I like tools. But honestly the cheapo scissors worked better.
Table Salt and white vinegar good ol Pak’nSave
Stirring sticks Wooden coat hangers with the hooks taken out – these worked brilliantly, I found them in CROD (the Craft Room of Doom) when I braved a look in there to find something that I could use for stirring. They are good and strong and the bend in them is helpful for lifting the fabric and moving it around.
Old jug for boiling up hot water. Lots and lots of water. If I take to dyeing, and of course I will, I may have to look out for a cheap second hand urn to boil enough water. I just didn’t feel too safe carrying boiling water through the house again and again.
Dish washing detergent and an old bucket
Measuring spoon and plastic teaspoons (Op Shop and kids takeaways)
Mug (a Craft Fair gift from my lovely friend Barbara Smith). I was looking for plastic cups, realised we didn’t have any and I don’t want to buy any unnecessary plastic.)
What I’d do next time
Cut the wool first
Check the ratio of wool blanket to water bath. I guess as long as it’s covered in solution and can be stirred for even uptake of the dye it’ll be Ok
Have more spoons for the dye and have the dye powder in bigger containers so it didn’t spill when measuring
Take photos of each stage to help plan out the best order and process
Have more containers ready so I can do more dyeing. Find a sensible way to mark the recipe used in each dye bath.
Yellow = 1 tbsp (intense yellow, worse than a chux multicloth) Mid green was 2tsps yellow and one tsp green .I quite like this. Dark green was 1 1/2 tsps each of yellow and green. Also nice.
I will try and get a better photo in the sun tomorrow.
This one was taken at night time inside.
I am looking forward to dyeing more.and trying different shades and tints.
Huge thanks to Bobby for being so generous and patient with her knowledge and advice.