by Annette Ringeisen
In this project, brought to you by Living Crafts in two parts, Annette Ringeisen, an accomplished fiber artist, and Living Crafts magazine contributor, teaches you how to dye your own wool fabric, needle felt your design, and prepare it for any sewing project you wish. To get to know Annette and her company, Wool Creations, visit WoolCreations.com.
The first part is to dye the fabric with acid dyes, and is sponsored by Jacquard Products, offering a giveaway to die for at the end of this post! Here comes Annette in her own words with Part I:
Here’s my plan:
I’ll start with two yards of woven wool fabric, add a bit of dye and some needle-felting, and end up with a richly colored and beautifully patterned piece that I will sew into a lovely jacket.
I know this won’t be the quickest project I’ve ever dreamed up, and I know that I can sometimes, perhaps, get a little ambitious with an idea and before long find myself knee-deep trying to complete it. As a child I would get big ideas. I’d start them, but then not ever finish the project. But I’ve come a long way since then.
(or so I hope…)
Dyeing the fabric
To start, I’ll need to prepare my fabric by soaking it for 30 minutes in a mix of warm water and a good amount of vinegar. I used 58” Wide Wool Melton Beige Fabric By The Yard by Tuva Textiles often available in fabric stores, but any woven wool fabric will do. Here’s a close up shot of the fabric before dyeing:
It is important for the fiber to really absorb the liquid so the dye will be taken in easily.
While I wait, I can mix my colors. I’m in the mood for an earthy palate, so I go with yellow, orange, brown, blue, and red.
I follow the directions on the container of the acid dyes from Jacquard Products. Always be sure to use all recommended cautions and follow the directions for best results! Also, as they say on their website, the only acid is the vinegar you use.
I’ve decided to dye my fabric with the low water immersion technique. The outcome is always a bit of a surprise, and I guess I am in the mood for a bit of surprise. I use an old large crock-pot, a perfect fit for all my fabric. Along with the fabric, the warm water and the 2 cups of vinegar, I leave enough space for the dyes to be added. I like to experiment with dye order. Depending on how and in which order the dyes are added, the results can be very different. These pictures show that it can be fun to experiment.
To dye my fabric, I first pour yellow onto one area of the immersed wool and watch it creep along the fabric. The color will be more intense where it first touches and more subdued where the fabric folds. Try to move the fabric as little as possible if you would like more variations of shade, but move it more if you prefer a more uniform saturation. After a few minutes, I add the next color. I have to be patient—my colors will get “dirty” if I add them too soon. When the water is clear, I know my color is absorbed and another color can be added. By the way, as I do all this, my crock-pot is on. The temperature is kept just below boiling, as recommended for the dyes I
am using. This is important for the dyes to set.
Now it is time to let the dye-bath cool down and then to lift out the fabric. I rinse well in water till the water runs clear. I’m eager, but I cannot felt the fabric just yet.
Please stay tuned for Part II on Monday, when you will learn how to design and transfer it onto your fabric. Here’s a peek:
Jacquard Products is sponsoring today’s tutorial, with giving away one complete set, including one each of their 40 colors of acid dyes! This is valued at $175. To enter drawing, please leave a comment on this post by end of the day Monday, January 9th 8:00 p.m. EST.
The winner for this Giveaway by Jacquard Products is Melinda Zinda:
I have always wanted to try dying my own fabrics. The colors are so beautiful. I would love this win!