To dye, you need dyes and something to dye, right? Today I’ll share with you the sources that I have found, whether helpful sources or not. A lot depends on how much dyeing you are planning to do.
Fiber and yarn:
There are many sources for both fiber and yarn for the dyer who only wants to dye a few skeins for personal use or to share with friends. Many indie Dyers on Etsy, for example, sell undyed skeins as well as their own work. For a few skeins at a time,
Wool2Dye4, sells skeins and a little fiber either at retail or wholesale prices
Knit Picks sells yarn at retail prices, Jacquard Acid dyes
Catnip Yarns sells yarn at retail prices
Dharma Trading Co. sells yarn at retail prices, Dharma Acid Dyes, Dharma Lanaset Acid Dyes, and Jacquard Acid Dyes, Textile detergent, and citric acid – pretty much one-stop shopping!
The Woolery sells fiber and yarn, some undyed
Paradise Fibers also sells fiber and yarn at retail prices. I don’t use them as they have no wholesale account and there are a number of reviews online, so judge for yourself.
For Heavenly Fiber, I use Ashland Bay for fiber and yarn. I love that they have US sourced products in both categories, their prices are great, and their customer service is outstanding. They do require a wholesale account which means you need to have established a business and buy in bulk. I also use Wool2Dye4 for a wholesale account, but they do have retail prices as well. Both suppliers provide quality products and great customer service.
So, now you need color, right?
There are many ways to get color on fiber and yarn with acid dyes. All require heat and acid to facilitate the bond between the dye molecules and the yarn, but you have options, again depending on how much fiber you are dyeing. There are other sources out there that you can find in a web search, these are just the ones I have used and with good results.
The first dye many people start with is Kool-Aid. You MUST get the unsweetened variety – you don’t want to load your fiber with sugar, an open invitation to bug infestation! I’ve had very good results with Flavor-aid as well, usually for half the price. The problems I have with drink powders are that the colors can sometimes be muddy, and it takes a looooot of those little packages to get deep colors.
Wilton’s and other food colorings also work well, producing good colors without muddy results. Using these for a couple of skeins is ok, but for more than a couple the Wilton’s can get expensive.
Easter egg dyes can be purchased for little or nothing after Easter when products are being cleared out at grocery stores. It can be difficult to predict what the colors will actually turn out to be on yarn, but if you like cheap, serendipitous results, they are fun!
Acid Dyes: There are several sources for acid dyes. If you are concerned about heavy metals or chemical compounds, check out Greener Shades Dyes . Their company prides itself on using safe, non-toxic ingredients in all but one of their dyes.
Jacquard Dyes are a good starter dye, fairly inexpensive and fairly true to color.
Dharma acid dyes are a good mid-range dye, easy to obtain online, giving great results, and fairly easy to use.
Washfast dyes are my mainstay – good primary colors that are easy to mix for great results, good colorfastness, a wonderful (almost mind-boggling!) array of colors. Available through the Pro-Chem website (see link)
Lanaset dyes are the most colorfast of the acid dyes. If you decide to dye professionally, this will be your go-to dye. They are more expensive than other dyes, and require a little more care in the dye process for certain effects.
Sources: Knitpicks, Dharma Trading Co., WC Mercantile, and Mohair and More all sell Jacquard Acid Dyes.
The Woolery sells Greener Shades Acid Dyes
You also need:
acid – citric acid or white vinegar
detergent for pre-soak – Synthrapol, Dharma Textile Detergent, or original blue Dawn
rinsing wash (like a conditioner for the fiber) – I use Eucalan, and have used Soak
Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? It really isn’t. There are many ways to dye inexpensively and with very little money up front. Just don’t let me catch you using those dyeing dishes for spaghetti!
Next Time: Let’s get started dyeing!