Saturday, June 26, 2010

The mystery of Dyeing Wool Interlock Revealed!

I wanted to share my methods for dying wool interlock (you can also dye wool jersey this way). It is actually super duper easy in a top loader washing machine. (I plan to due a tutorial for stove-top dyeing at a later date.) If you want to dye 100% wool interlock you need to do it over the stove because it will felt too much in the washer.

**Note: If you have a new HE top loader dyeing will not work because the washer doesn't fill with water the same way old top loaders do.**

First off get your materials:
-wool interlock (buy from Nature's Fabrics)
-Detergent (Synthrapol or Dish detergent) (Synthrapol is better because it does not have dyes and fragrances that can stick in your fabric and prevent the dye from binding but dish detergent will do in a pinch)
-Acid dyes (buy from Dharma Trading Company)
-White Vinegar (from you grocery store)
-Tiny spoon for the dye
-Large spoon to manipulate the fabric in the washing machine
-1/2 cup measuring cup for the vinegar/detergent

1)Turn up your hot water heater to the hottest and tell your family so no one burns themselves!

2)Put the unwashed, unfelted wool blend interlock into the washing machine and add 1/2 cup/yd detergent if you are using synthrapol. A few squirts if you are using dish detergent. Wash on the shortest cycle in warm water.

3) Take out the wet wool and put it aside.

4) The hot water heater will have heated up by now. Turn the washer to the hottest, largest, longest setting and allow the washer to fill up with water. (Make sure the washer is empty!)

5)Listen for when the washer is done filling. Open it up and put in the dye. You need about 1 tsp per yard of wool blend. You can add less to get a lighter color.

You are limited by the temperature of the water as to how dark you can dye. If you need a really dark color you need to dye on the stove top where you can get hotter temperatures. You can experiment with how much dye to use to get your desired colors.

6)Close the lid to the washer and let it agitate for at least 2 minutes to dissolve the dye.

7)Put the wet fabric in the washer and close the lid to let the dye agitate with the fabric for at least 2 min.

8)Open the lid and use the big spoon to move the fabric all to one side. (This is important or you will get splotches from the vinegar splashing on the wool.)

9)Add 1/2 Cup of vinegar for each yard of wool blend. Pour it as far away from the wool as possible.

10) Close the lid and let the washer finish it's cycle.

11) When the dye cycle is finished start a new cycle on warm with the same amount of detergent as you added in step #2. Use an additional rinse cycle after the wash is done. This is to wash out any extra dye. (I was dyeing more than one color and am now washing all the colors together, the dye will not run with the detergent there.)

12) Dry on hot in the dryer.

13) Admire your rich dye job! Time to sew!