Not Your Grandma's Dye-Pot!

The goal for this dyeing workshop is to learn the basics for dyeing full rich color in cellulose yarn (cotton, rayon, linen, etc.), dyeing safely,
traditional as well as non-traditional application of dyes, and processes needed to set the dyes for color fastness. Students will learn
fundamentals for dye application to produce one of a kind, technically sound and color-fast hand-dyed cotton yarn and fabric. Students will learn
techniques for space-dyeing skeins and warps, resist dyeing yarn, and how to set up a basic dye kitchen. And, beyond that, to learn to dye with
personal fearlessness and intention.

We will discuss and explore a wide variety of ways to layout warps to be dyed - each layout giving a different result for what will turn into woven
fabric. This is not a “recipe” class. Using 7 hues of Fiber Reactive MX dyes students will begin to develop insight into the essence of color that
allows them to blend, shade and produce a full spectrum of color. Students will begin this dye class creating a full spectrum of dye samples to
take home for for future reference.


Tools Students Bring

  • Notebook/folder/pen/pencil for handouts and notes

  • Rubber gloves

  • Masking tape

  • Scissors

  • Dust mask

  • Spray bottle

  • Metal whisk

  • Plastic Batter Bowl

  • 2 trash bags (approx 13 gallon size)

  • Paper towels

  • Thrums for tying and binding yarn

  • Apron/old clothes to wear while dyeing

  • Small plastic cups (i.e.: yogurt or cottage cheese containers)

  • Quart size plastic containers (i.e.: large yogurt containers or deli containers.)

  • Measuring spoons and cups (never to be used with food preparations again!)

  • Several inch stack of newspaper (This is not optional.)

  • 1 to 2 gallon bucket. 

Materials Students Bring

Students will bring several cotton (or other cellulose) warps and/or skeins wound, scoured and ready to dye. Students may choose to dye a few with great care or a dozen with fearless playfulness. The warps/skeins can any weight up to 12 oz each. If a student would like to dye fewer but larger warps/skeins, that if fine, too. Remember that cellulose includes Cotton, Rayon, Bamboo, Linen, Hemp, etc. All of those will dye. Also bring some plant based fabric if you would like to dye cloth. Please do not come planning on dyeing wool or silk as your main focus, but bring along a skein or two if you would like to try them.


Optional Materials 

Instructor can provide pre-wound, scoured warps and skeins for those of you who want to supplement your supply. Please order through her webshop at least 2 weeks before the workshop. They will be shipped to you before class.


Notes on Scouring Cotton Yarn/Material to Dye

Scouring is essential to allow the yarn/fabric to accept dye, but it does not have to be complicated. Most rayon, Tencel, and bamboo does not need to be scoured.

Use HOT water (140*F), A dash of Dawn dish soap (or Synthrapol if you have it). Do not use anything with bleach or brighteners. Wind your yarn into warps or skeins. Loosely chain the warps or tie them with figure 8 security ties. Without tangling, manipulate and squeeze the yarn to work the hot soapy water into all the fibers and under the security ties. When the yarn is completely saturated and falls to the bottom of bucket (or washing machine) it is done. If something on your yarn is resisting the hot soapy water, you can add 1/4 cup of dissolved Arm and Hammer Washing Soda to the hot soapy water to increase the scouring power. If you have extremely stubborn yarn, you can boil it in the soapy, soda ash water. Rinse well. All this can be done in a washing machine using the fill and spin cycles, but do not agitate!