How to Naturally Dye Wool Yarn Quickly and Easily!
Updated: Jan 1
wool yarn hank, undyed or very light color such as cream or grey (wool can be blended with other fibers but must be primarily wool). Yarn should be tied in several places and some ribbon or a plastic shower hook attached.
stainless steel pot
spoon + measuring spoons
alum (a food grade mordant)
ribbon or plastic shower hooks
*These items should ONLY be used for dyeing and nothing else. You will also need a heat source such as a stove top. I use induction burners.
HOW TO MORDANT WOOL:
Add 10% alum (to WOF) to pot and add enough warm water to cover yarn well. Mix well, then add your yarn hank(s). Place pot on burner and heat at a low simmer for one hour. Do not boil.
MORDANTS + MODIFIERS (THE SCIENCE):
High pH = alkaline/base (pH+7 ) Low pH = acidic (pH-7)
Mordants + Modifiers: Alum (Potassium Aluminum Sulfate), Citric Acid, Vinegar
Alkaline/Base Mordants + Modifiers: Baking Soda, Chalk, Soda Ash, Iron, Ammonia, Copper
HOW TO DYE:
Add 20% - 50% dye/plant material (to Weight of Fiber/WOF) to pot and add enough water to cover the plant material well. Mix well.
Place pot on burner and heat at a low simmer for one to two hours. Do not boil. Mix well, then let dye solution sit overnight.
Use cheesecloth to strain out all plant material. Pour dye bath back into pot.
Add your damp, pre-mordanted yarn to dye bath and heat at a low simmer for one hour. Do not boil. Do not agitate fibers.
For more color, let yarn sit in dye bath overnight.
Rinse yarn, gently remove excess water and lay flat to dry (out of direct sunlight).
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