Sunday, August 7, 2016

Solar Dyeing ~

Hooker friend Sheila inspired me to try a bit of solar dyeing while the temperatures are soaring with plenty of sunshine.  She sent me the directions last year but was kind enough to send them again so I wouldn't have to hunt for them.

As usual, I tried to rush the start (wanted to visit a few antique shops), so rather than mix up a new dye color or two, just used dye that I had previously mixed.  My recipes are from the Emma Lou Lais/Barbara Carroll dye book, "Antique Colours for Primitive Rugs" using Cushing acid dyes.  My #26 bronze green seemed a little thick and #85 Emma Lou's putty/old was a little shy of the 1/4 cup I planned on using.

Here is the wool I started out with.

Here are the results.

A couple of the greens are bright for me so they will probably go back in the dye pot at some point.

There is such a difference in the old putty.  Some is a great tan, some has a purple cast to it.

I am just amazed at how easy it is to solar dye.  Here are the instructions.

What you need ~
  • Large glass jars with top.  You can also use black garbage bags.  If you don't have a lid, cover with aluminum foil
  • Dye.  I used Cushing acid dye
  • White vinegar
  • Wool, yarn, roving, etc.  Says it only works with animal fibers
  • Boiling water
Pre-soak what you are dyeing.  I soaked my wool overnight.
Fill the jar about 1/3 with boiling water and 1/2 cup vinegar. 
Dye may be added at this point or poured over the top for a more graduated color.
Add your wool and pack firmly.
Fill the jar with boiling water.
Place the lid on and put the jar outside in a location where it will get the most sun.
At the end of the day, it is done, though I did leave mine outside for about a day and a half.
Rinse and hang to dry or rinse in the washer and place in the dryer with a fluffy towel.  It dries very quickly.

**What I would do differently**
The wool came out much more mottled than I would prefer and some areas didn't seem to have absorbed dye at all.  I would not pack the wool in the jar as tightly and I would shake the jar to distribute the dye more evenly. 

And what did I get at the antique shop?  A sweet footwarmer.

Damage on the top tin . . .

. . . and missing it's door, so reasonably priced.
I'm definitely NOT a purist.

My collection now numbers four.

Thanks so much for stopping by.
Pug hugs :)


acorn hollow said...

what a great idea for dying! I will have to try this. and love your foot warmers may come in handy this winter;0)

The Eveningstitcher said...

Love those foot warmers!! I'm not a purist either...if it looks good sitting on a shelf...that's all that matters to me!!

Not into the dyeing...I should though...I have some wool that I will probably never use because of the color...I'm just lazy!!

Julie - My Primitive Heart said...

Hi Lauren,
Sounds just like making sun tea, though obviously NOT for drinking! lol
Your wool looks so pretty on your wooden dryer, too!!
Love your new foot warmer and what a fun collection!
Enjoy your week!
Heart Hugs~

Gayle said...

I've been wanting to try this kind of dyeing - I really like your results! I'm guessing you must have used quart canning jars - did you squeeze more than one piece of wool in each jar?

Farm Girl said...

What a fun way to dye wool. I would love to try that.
I love your warmers. I have always wanted to see them. I have read about them in old books. I like your colors. That is my favorite dye book by the way.

Saundra said...

I was intrigued when you mentioned solar dying the other day. That will be on my 'do do' list in the future. But can't wait too long or summer will be over.

Hey, those greens are wonderful to add a little spark in rugs.

WoolenSails said...

A great way to dye and save on utilities and mess in the kitchen. I really need to get going on some dying before winter hits. I usually set it in a turkey pan and just leave it in the sun. As the sun soaks up the water it pulls color in different spots so you get a nice variation that way too.


moosecraft said...

Your woolies dyed up quite nicely! And, a great technique to use during the humid days of Summer. I do like those foot warmers.... though your blog is the only place I can find them! lol!

denise said...


village folk art said...

I just, for the first time, dyed with blue color some floss that was too grey. It was OK. Not sure I'll ever be ready for wool. Yours all looks perfectly prim. I like the green.

Enjoy the day...Peace,

Three Sheep Studio said...

Wow ! I am loving that dyed wool. How easy is that !! Beautiful.

Larkrise garden girl said...

Lauren, I love everything! Hugs cheri