Dye changing colors!!!
  • Hello. Yesterday I dyed some superwash wool with navy blue Jacquard acid dye. The wool was pre-soaked in vinegar water prior to dyeing, wrapped in saran wrap, and then steamed on the stove for about an hour. After the wool had cooled and was unwrapped to be rinsed, the navy dye had changed colors to orange in most places. Why did this happen? Did I do something wrong???

    Thanks in advance!
  • Hi YarnJunkie

    I'm not sure what's going on there. How about giving me a very specific description of your whole dyeing process and I'll check in with our expert (the owner--he's amazingly knowledgeable). Hopefully we'll be able to help you figure it out.

    Paula--got any ideas?

  • Hi Noelle -- I'm not sure how much more specific I can be but I'll try. Superwash wool pre-soaked in a diluted solution of vinegar water for about 30 minutes and gently spun dry. We then mixed up the navy blue dye (approximately .2 oz dry weight per approximately 24 oz water) with hot tap water and applied it with a sponge brush. We rolled the yarn up in saran wrap and steamed it for about 1 or 2 hours, let it cool overnight and when we unwrapped it, the navy had turned a rusty looking shade of orange that would not rinse out. Please let me know what other information you need that might help you solve this mystery for us.

    Many thanks!
  • Good start!

    As soon as I can pin my expert down I'll get back to you.
  • Thank you!
  • i suspect this is a very silly question, but....what exactly is superwash wool? and which animal does it come from?

    quiz-ik-ly, anet
  • I asked Michael and he said it is wool that has been scoured---a lot.

  • Okay. Here we go!

    Our expert, Michael, was actually kind of excited about your process because it raises more questions than it answers, lots of opportunity for learning here. I'll do my best to cover everything.

    His first question was 'why the saran wrap?' There is a method that folks are working with using fibres wrapped in saran wrap in the microwave---the saran wrap traps the steam generated by the moisture in the fibres when microwaving. He has not heard of using it in a regular steaming process. It seems like the saran wrap would actually PREVENT the steam from reaching and penetrating the fibres. A more common approach would be to drape or wrap the fibres on a pole and secure that in your steamer. (similar to how fabric is steamed in shibori) SO----why the saran wrap? Have you had good results when dyeing other colors using this method?

    Another question was 'Is Navy a mixed color?' Sometimes when dyes are blended one color may have a tendency to "strike" (hit and bond with the fibres) faster than another color. Well-dissolved dye solution and good steaming are usually all that is needed to create the expected color. SO---we checked our files on Navy and it is indeed a mixed color; 97% blue and 3% green---not an explanation of why you got orange!

    The next question about the dye was 'What is the % of the dye solution?' To find this out you divide the weight of the dye powder used by the amount of water used---in this case .2 divided by 24---.008%
    That's not very much dye, especially for a dark color like Navy. It seems like you just didn't get enough dye in the fibres. SO---one way to improve your results is to increase the amount of dye you use; somewhere around .96oz instead.

    Michael's general thoughts on the 'orange' is that wool tends to go orange when put under stress.

    Hope this helps.

    Anyone else out there have something to add?

  • Superwash wool is wool that has been chlorinated to make it resistant to felting when machine washed. It is supposed to dye pretty much like wool that has not been chemically treated.

  • Thanks for the clarification Paula!