Thursday, January 10, 2008


Years and years ago, back when I had my first bolt of wool, I dyed big swatches of all of the dye colours I had at the time. I think I used about 1/12 of a yard of each with 1/8 tsp of dye (if I had my swatches with me, I could check - since I typed that on the labels).

It was one of the best uses of my dyeing time ever. I refer to these swatches over and over again, and I don't think there have been very many dye days when they weren't referenced.

I made up sets for myself, AJ and Shellie and this used up about 1/3 of each of the pieces. I had always planned to make up the rest into swatches, but you know how things get shoved in a box, forgotten about, periodically raided, and left to collect dust?! There was no longer a complete set and I didn't realistically think that there would ever be another complete set (especially since I now have about twice as many dyes - and if any get done, it will be the newer acquisitions).

As you can imagine, some of these pure dye colours are quite bright - and not quite my style. I didn't want to spend a whole lot of time or effort in fixing them up, so I just divided them up into three piles of complements (reds with greens, blues with oranges, yellows with purples).

Each pile went into a pot with some laundry soap (more environmentally friendly Method, not Tide). There was some bleeding...but not enough in the purple/gold pot, so I added some actual Tide. I set the colours with citric acid.

The nature of the colours was preserved (except for the oranges...which went quite brown)...but the feeling that you need to put on a pair of sunglasses, before you can ever look at the wool, is gone. Here are the results (and yes, the pictures don't adequately describe either the before or the after)....