I taught an acid dye workshop yesterday at the Rochester Area Fiber Art meeting and totally forgot to take pictures. The time went so quickly, and everybody was dyeing such gorgeous skeins of yarn and silk thread kits. I’m so sorry I forgot to take pictures, but here are the notes from the class in case anyone wants to try acid dyeing at home.
RAFA Acid Dye Workshop
Kool Aid Dyeing
Contains citric acid – use unsweetened
Soak fiber in plain water.
Add drink mix to bowl with 1.5 quarts water. Stir to dissolve.
Wring the fiber, place in bowl. Microwave till the water is clear, being careful not to over heat as the fiber will felt.
The class samples were the red mohair, unscoured wool, and the wool/cotton blend sample. The wool dyed beautifully, and as expected, the cotton didn’t.
Jacquard Silk Colors
Used for the silk ribbon, as the yarn was too thick and required too much dye.
Can be used on dry or wet ribbon. The wet ribbon had great color migration.
Air dry for 24 hours then can be steam set or use Jacquard Dye-Set.
Jacquard Acid Dyes
Used for the purple felted wool, and the boucle wool. These were dyed in the washing machine.
Procion MX Fiber Reactive Dye
Presoak fiber in citric acid – 2 tsps in 1 cup of water – 9 tbls in one gallon of water. This is the same citric acid used for making pickles and is contained in lots of our food.
Apply dye concentrate. I used 1% solution for all the dye recipes in my book, and all the samples on the table – but brought 2% so it could be diluted with the citric acid water to make sure there was enough dye concentrate for everyone.
If you choose to dye your fibers dry, then make sure the dye concentrate is diluted with at least 50% citric acid OR make your dye concentrate with citric acid water instead of plain water. After a couple of hours the dye molecules will be exhausted in the citric acid water.
I prefer to add the citric acid to dye concentrates mixed with plain water as the dye concentrates will last for about 7 days for acid dyeing without being refrigerated. When I’ve kept them longer than that, they haven’t dyed as deeply, and they sometimes get a film over the top of the dye concentrate.
Microwave for a minute, rest – repeat for a total of 4 minutes if you are dyeing 4-6 skeins of yarn. Smaller amounts require less time. The silk thread packages were microwaved for 30 seconds. One of the 50 gram skeins of yarn for 1 minute.
Cool, and rinse – to remove the citric acid. It’s important to let your wool cool before you rinse it as fast temperature changes will felt wool. It’s also important to rinse the citric acid out of the fiber as a weak acid solution will erode the fiber with time.
I set all my dyed fibers by placing them in a big dedicated to dyeing only kettle, add water, bring to slow boil, and simmer/boil for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent your fiber from sticking/burning.
Let it cool, then rinse in cold water and hang to dry.
If you don’t want to boil your fiber, just rinse till all the water is clear.
The dye concentrates used in the workshop were Pro Chemical’s 308 fuchsia, 414 navy and 108 sun yellow.
The thread kits contained:
Henry’s Attic Unscoured Wool
Henry’s Attic Silk Chenille
Louet’s Superwash Merino Wool
Louet’s Kid Mohair
KNK Silk Buttonhole Twist
Treenway’s Silk Noil
Madeira’s Silk Floss
YLI’s Silk Ribbon
A Few Notes About Silk
Silk can be dyed as a plant or a protein based fiber. Its amino acids are similar to wool, but different, and there are not as many dye receptors in silk.
If you use soda ash, it can be harsh on the fabric and it can lose its luster. Oh, the fabric I dyed with it was dupioni. I knew I’d remember the name of that fabric when I wasn’t trying. LOL
I had samples in my dye recipe book that were dyed with soda ash and with citric acid, and the hand was much softer with the citric acid and it did not lose its luster.
Silk reacts quickly with dye. It will also dye deeper at cooler temperatures.
Wool has more dye receptors than silk though, and as the skein is heated, the colors deepen.
If you put a skein of silk and a skein of wool in the same dye bath, the wool will be darker than the silk.
Remember the skein of silk next to the wound ball of wool with the baby sock? Those two were dyed in the same container with the same dye concentrates. They looked the same when they were put into the container, but as the container was heated, the silk got lighter and lighter.
I hoped you enjoyed the workshop as much as I did, and thank-you all for the opportunity.