Monday, July 20, 2009

safer dyes

If you ever dye protein fibers you should read this...

So I'm a little late posting my blog this week because I wanted to have a chance to work with the new Greenershades dyes I'm stocking at the shop. And with the weather what it's been here this past month...a bit of rain every's been hard to plan time to dye when there was enough of a window to get it dry!

Anyway, I've finally had a chance to play with these new dyes. And I love them! They do not have the heavy metals that the other brands of chemical dyes have and they adhere to the standards for Organic Wool Processing. The colors dye really well - good uptake and clear exhaust.

What most excited me was that after a very full day of heavy dyeing with the other brands, even tho' I wear a mask and am careful handling the powders, I ALWAYS end the day with a metallic taste in my mouth and irritated eyes and nose.This has always freaked me out and so I have tried to avoid heavy dyeing (I'm talking quantity here...I've never experienced the taste or irritation dyeing 1 batch of yarn or a bit of fiber) because I just didn't feel good about the effects.

I have done a fair amount of natural dyeing in the past and know that if you stick to alum as a mordant one can avoid the chemcial dyeing hazards, but for the quantity dyeing I do for the store, natural dyeing has just never seemed practical for my needs.

So the Greenershades was a welcome discovery that my sister Joanie brought to my attention! After dyeing about 25 pounds of fiber and 5 pounds of yarn yesterday, I had no metallic taste in the mouth or irritation of the eyes. The colors were great...saturated as I had desired and clear exhausts that I demand.

For the saturation I desired, I found that a bottle of dye (1/2 ounce) dyed 2.5 pounds of raw wool and 1 pound of yarn perfectly. The only difference I found in using these dyes was that they didn't go into solution quite as quickly as the traditional heavy metal dyes I've used in the past. But a drop of Synthrapol to reduce the surface tension resolved that problem and then they were a cinch to use.

Anyway, if you are planning on doing a lot of dyeing or even if you're not doing much but you want to use a product that doesn't have the heavy metal, these dyes are great and I've posted them on the website at

Happy dyeing...Jen

No comments:

Post a Comment