April 10th, 2010, 08:52 AM   1
Rich Larkin

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 13
Preserving the wool

Hi Julia,

This is a nice salon. I'm hoping you will have some "before, during and after pics," etc.

You said this:

My biggest problem in dyeing wool has been not treating the fibers gently enough so the wool retains its luster and texture. Since I use my dyed wool to make felt or hand-spun demonstration skeins for teaching, Iíve been able to use even the most mangled stuff. You wonít want wool like that to repair your beautiful carpet, so take care to handle the yarn carefully, avoid alkalis, excessive agitation, or abrupt temperature changes.
Can you be more specific about what parts of the process threaten the integrity of the fibers? Is it handling and abrasion? Chemical action from the dyes or mordants? Excessive heat? All of the above? I think of wool fiber as being very resilient, and it is surprising to learn that this issue is your greatest challenge.

Thanks for bringing this information to us.

Rich Larkin
April 10th, 2010, 03:03 PM   2
Julia Watson

Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 6
Handling Wool

Hi Rich,

Dyers who use natural fibers generally separate those fibers into two categories: protein such as silk, wool, mohair from animal sources, and cellulose such as cotton, hemp, linen from plant sources. Wool, in the protein category, is sensitive to alkali, agitation and temperature shock. An example might be tossing (by accident) your favorite hand-knit wool sweater into the washing machine with high alkali soap and hot water. The result will be a felted garment sized for a four-year-old. This does not mean a dyer cannot use heat or soap. Suzanne, do you have any comments to add on this?

I did include images of dyeing with madder roots and the resulting colors I obtained from a single dyepot. Steve, do you still want to use those?

April 10th, 2010, 03:31 PM   3
Steve Price

Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 38

Hi Julia

I don't still have those. If you send them to me again, I'll put them into the server and send you instructions on how to make them appear in a message.


Steve Price