Dyeing 101 with Gaywool

There are a lot of dyes available to the hand dyer these days, but the diverse range of Gaywool Dyes are an ideal match for beginning dyers as well as experienced fiber artists. These user-friendly dyes come in a diverse selection of colors which are inspired by the colors of Tasmania.

In a later post, we’ll talk more about the Gaywool’s Acid Dye and Lanaset Dye ranges, which are best suited for intermediate and experienced dyers. Today, we will focus on Gaywool Originals & Bushblends, which are quick & easy to use and require very little clean-up – perfect for at-home and beginning dyers!

Basic Safety

  • Always wear gloves and a particle filter mask when handling dyes.
  • Turn off any fans and close nearby windows when mixing powder or crystal dyes.
  • Make sure your work area is well-ventilated; when cooking your dye baths, be sure to turn on vent fans and open a window.
  • Do not eat, drink or prepare food in your work area while you are preparing dyes.

Gaywool Originals Starter KitOriginal

This dye range offers 36 beautiful colors which are chemically based & complete – that is, the formulation includes the mordant and dyebath acidifier  that is necessary to produce true to type color fast dyeing. Originals are formulated specifically for raw or spun wool, but can also be used on cashmere, mohair, silk, nylon and fur – however, we do not recommend use on other synthetic fibers.

Dyes can be used for immersion, rainbow, microwave dyeing, also with steam set and direct application techniques (more on these techniques in a minute!).

Just getting started? We recommend the Gaywool Dyes Original Starter Kit!

Bushblends

These dyes offer fast results in just 30 minutes with a vibrant color range which can be strengthened or diluted to suit your preference. Bushblends contain everything you need to dye without messy mixing or weighing, and they are compatible with Gaywool Originals.

Depending on the strength of the shade, dyeing time varies between 15-30 minutes; the dye uptake is very quick and the dyebath has very little residue after exhaustion has completed.

Bushblend dyes work best on natural fibers such as wool, silk, angora and mohair, but can also be used on fur, feathers, nylon and nylon blend fibers, among other uses.

Dyes can be used in immersion dyeing, rainbow, microwave, and oven dyeing. They can also be applied using steam setting and direct application techniques.

Gaywool Bushblends Dye Color CardDyeing Resources

Here are some of our favorite dye tutorials to get you started:

Directions to use Orginals for Stove Top, Steam, Microwave, Random and Cold Water dye methods can be found here.

Directions to use Bushblends for Stove Top, Steam, Microwave, Random and Cold Water dye methods can be found here.

Follow us on Pinterest for more great dye inspiration!

Dye & Prep to Spin with Louet & Gaywool Dyes

Spinzilla is fast approaching, and now is the perfect time to prep your fiber for easy spinning! Click here for our previous post which covers more ideas for fast-spinning fiber preparation; today, we’ll focus on dyeing natural colored spinning fiber with user-friendly Gaywool dye to make striped rolags on the Louet blending board.

Supplies:

Prepare to Dye

Since we are planning to make striped rolags with one color that will be more dominant than the other, you will want to divide your fiber into two sections for each color. Color A (shown here in Iceberg) will be approximately 2/3 of the fiber your have on hand to dye; Color B (shown here in Rosemary) will be 1/3 of the fiber. Be sure to write down the exact weight of each set of fiber, because this will help you to determine how much dye to use in your bath later on.

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Your fiber will best absorb the dye if you soak it in warm, soapy water ahead of time. Fill a sink or basin with enough water to submerge your fiber, and leave to soak for about 15 minutes. Carefully squeeze to remove excess water from fiber before proceeding to the next step.

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While your fiber soaks, begin heating up the water in your crock pot or stock pot for the dye bath (make sure to use enough water to cover your fiber sufficiently. Dissolve dye in hot water according to directions on the package, add to dye bath and stir.

Time to Dye

Add fiber to dye bath and allow water to come to a boil. Gently move the fiber around in the dye bath using tongs, being careful not to felt – this allows the dye to be worked through more uniformly. If you prefer a more kettle-dyed effect, you can opt to move fiber less, though we do not recommend skipping this step entirely.

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After 15-30 minutes, remove fiber from dye bath – you may wish to allow dye bath and fiber to cool down before handling fiber. Be sure to wear protective gloves to prevent dye from being transferred to your hands. Rinse fiber in warm water and allow to dry.

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Time to Blend

Once the fiber is completely dry, it’s time to start making your rolags on your blending board! For this project, Color A was added to the left and right sides of the blending board, with a section of Color B in the middle, using the width of the opening for the handle as a guide.

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Blend as many rolags as you desire, or until you run out of fiber! Then, be sure to store in a plastic bag or bin to keep safe from pests until it’s time to spin.

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Be sure to share your Spinzilla fiber prep with us on your social media of choice! You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Ravelry!