Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Quick Q&A

I hope I'm not asking anything that you already answered, if so please forgive me. I was wondering what type of dyes you use. I would like to get into dying fabric and yarn but I would like to know exactally what it is I'm after. TIA!

Dear Tia, I use procion dyes for cotton and silk fabric and yarn. I use print cloth (400M from Testfabrics.com) and/or mercerized cotton print cloth from Dharma. Do not use quilt fabric, as it has a permanent finish that will impede the absorption of the dyes.

Procion MX is a fiber reactive dye that works with cellulosic or protein fibers. The catalyst is sodium carbonate and that is the fixer that makes the dye permanent. See the Lazy Dyer for more info. When I dyed the silk/cotton yarn I wanted to hurry up the process so I mixed the dye with water and a tad of sodium carbonate and dunked the yarn into the dye solution, in a Gladware container. Since the molecules of the dye need to react with the fiber I know that they will bounce around faster if I heated them up a bit in the microwave. Since I had been using acid dyes with wool and vinegar, I watched how the dye was taken up into the wool more quickly as the liquid was heated in the microwave, and I guessed it would react similarly with the silk cotton yarn. It pretty much did. I can't tell you how much dye, water, yarn weight or sodium carbonate I used, or how long I zapped the yarn, because I wasn't paying attention, and writing these things down. So much of dyeing is experimenting and experience. There are tons of books out there on the subject, and even in my own library. I read them a long time ago and it must be in the brain somewhere. But really, in all these things, it pays to just play and see what happens.

Melody

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Hello,
So nice of you to drop by. I love your comments, and if you would really like a reply, please email me at fibermania at g mail dot com