Continuing on with the dyeing experiments I thought I’d post some more pictures of the Ile de France this time using ProChem’s Rosewine and Eggplant dyes.
This time around I decided to soak the fleece for a day before cleaning it with the Unicorn Power Scour. A lot of the lanolin must have come out during the soak because when I used the Power Scour there wasn’t much dirt or lanolin in the water. I decided to only wash it once with the Power Scour because of this. The tips were still yellow because of dirt staining or lanolin, I’m not sure which. I decided any leftover lanolin would come out when the fleece was in the dyepot being heated so I didn’t worry about it.
Anyhow, interesting this time around because I used Procion Mx dyes instead of the acid dyes. I only have two reds, two blues and a yellow in the acid dyes so I decided to go to my Procion Mx dyes for variety. Procion Mx dyes are used to dye plant matter, namely cotton but you can use them as an acid dye on wool if you provide an acid such as citric acid or vinegar to set the dye.
When I used the acid dyes I found the fleece dyed darker in the base of the locks and the tips were lighter because they were dirty. Using the Procion Mx dyes I found the opposite, the base was light and the tips really dark. I’m not sure why, the tips would have been cleaner from the pre-soak but the dye was darker where the yellow staining was so I’m not sure what’s up with that and can’t explain it. The fleece does look pretty this way though.
The first dyepot was the Rosewine and after heating the fleece on low for about 40 minutes the dye still hadn’t been sucked up into the fleece and I was despairing that the whole experiment wouldn’t work. I dumped in some citric acid in addition to the vinegar I had used and turned up the heat. The citric acid didn’t seem to do anything so I left the pot to cook longer. When I came back the pot was bubbling away and all the dye had been sucked up by the wool and the water was clear. I’m pretty sure the heat was the magic element because pretty much the same thing happened when I dyed the eggplant coloured pot of fleece – the dye didn’t get absorbed until the pot actually started to boil so I think heat is the critical factor for dye absorption.
Here is a photo sequence of events.
Here is a photo of the Rosewine and Eggplant sliver together. I’d picked the colours from a reference binder I have that contains samples of all my dye colours. Each page has six colour gradations on 2.5 inch cotton squares so when I’m trying to decide on what colours will go well together I can have a look and compare the colours in the binder. I’m really pleased that the colours stayed true when I used them on the wool, apparently this doesn’t always happen.
My spinning wheel is currently in use with another spinning project so it occurred to me to get out one of my spindles and test a sample of the fibre. It went smoothly so it should be easy to spin this stuff up on the wheel. It’s pretty much what you’d expect with hand-combed sliver. The colour did intensify with the spinning so I’m happy
Next time I think I’ll get a green that matches the pink and purple and then maybe just comb some of the fleece and leave it natural. I’m thinking maybe Fair Isle hat or mitts with a flower pattern in the pink and purple and green for leaves. I’ll have to see what I come up with.
Link to ProChem’s webpage on using Procion Mx dyes with wool Dyeing wool with Procion Mx dyes I didn’t bother using the wool assist chemical or the ammonia, everything seems to be working fine without those two chemicals.