Thursday, September 20, 2012

Blanket dyeing at craft today

Every Thursday, well almost every Thursday I go to craft down the road. There's just a small group of us and not everyone makes it all of the time but I love my day with the ladies of Karakariki (the name of our road). We quilt, we knit, we sew, we fact we do anything that takes our fancy really. These ladies taught me to quilt a few years back and I can blame them for my obsession for fabric, I am but a novice and my stash is nothing compared to theirs!
We've been planning this dyeing session for quite a while now and finally it Some of us went to a dyeing course in April of last year, you can click here to view that post.
I think all I will do here is explain the process and share the photos I took.

Equipment needed:
100%  wool blankets (make sure they are clean)
Large plastic bowls and or buckets
Lots of white vinegar( you can buy in bulk at Bin In) 
Coloured both acid and fibre reactive dyes suitable for wool
(we used Teri Dyes)
Large pots/pans
bbq or gas burner
Long tongs or old wooden/plastic spoons
 Old microwave
Plastic bowl that fits in the microwave
Access to a sink and water
Clothes airers or washing line

This instructions are based on a group of 5 or 6 people

First cut your wool blanket into fat quarter size or smaller, this makes it easier for a piece from each person to be dyed at the same time and fit into the pots.

Get your pans of water onto the burners the water needs to be hot/simmering
Mix a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and cold water in the large bowls submerge the wool blankets pieces and leave until the are fully soaked.

The lovely Jan

 Add your dye to the hot water, we used about 2 tsps per pot of 10 ltrs water. First dissolve the powdered dye in a jug of cold water and then stir into the hot water.
If you need to add more dye you must take your blanket pieces out first, add the dye then put them back in or the colour won't be even.

Take hold of the corner of each blanket piece and lower them all at once into the coloured water, make sure that each piece is fully immersed. Use tongs or spoon to keep moving the blankets around in the pot, this ensures good coverage and stops anything sticking to the bottom of the pan.
This process can take a while, they need a minimum of 10 mins at least. It's a good opportunity to think up new spells...oops sorry I meant chat!

No comments of cauldrons, witches, spells or covens thank you! :-D

Ngarie (Nyree)

Once the blanket has absorbed all (or almost all) of the colour carefully remove from the water and place pieces in the smaller plastic bowl. Put in the microwave on high for 5 minutes, this sets the dye.
If there are less pieces they will need less time in the microwave, adjust the time accordingly.

When you remove from the microwave they will be very hot so use gloves or tongs to hang the pieces on a clothes airer until they have cooled down.

Once cooled they will need a good rinse in cold water to rinse out some of that vinegar smell. If the colour begins to rinse out (you will get a little when rinsing) the dye hasn't taken and the process will need to be started from the beginning again.

Wring out and hang on a line/airer to dry

And that's it! Just keep repeating until you've run out of wool blankets.
Once dry they are ready for use.

Then spend the next week trying to get the smell of vinegar outta yer hooter! 
It's essential that you wear old clothes, in case of splashes.

Here are my efforts drying in the garage


I'm pretty sure I've covered everything, I've a feeling I've forgotten something, I'll come back and edit if I have, also of you have any questions, just leave a comment and I'll answer them as best I can.

tata for now ♥


  1. I love dying clothes. Those blankets look so bright and cheery now. x

  2. How clever is that? I love the bright colours Sue!

    Thanks for your helpful comment. I have changed the settings like you said and now will just wait...hopefully no spam.

    Thanks again



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