Dyeing my Shetland in a pot

Since this is my first entry where I’m going to show dyed top, I will try to put here a concise instruction on a dyeing method I know from Monika Kołątaj from our Spinners’ Club (link to her blog is here). To be exact I will add that I used Jacquard acid dyes.


I used 100 g of shetland sheep wool. I had an opportunity to spin it a while ago so I am curious the difference between spinning natural and dyed one.

Let’s start then:

I used a big pot (big enough to let the top could nicely lie on the bottom), I inserted the wool gently and poured a hot water onto it – its level should cover the wool. Starting from this point I do not recomment to touch the wool excessively since it can felt too much, yet in this very moment you have to gently push it under the water surface (it floats).  After that I add a whole glass (or a mug) of vinegar and since this moment you can enjoy the dyeing 🙂

In this method you sprinkle the powder dye over the wool in the pot. I had already prepared the magic powder so it was ready to use. My idea was to combine brown with navy blue and break it a little with cherry red, however the artistic berserkergang took control over me a bit too much..


As you see in the above picture I prepared more dyes than originally intended three and after a short while I was left with this:bur_gar

I had an impression that the brown was too intense to wanted to help it with yellow.. then the navy blue turned out to be too dark and a while later it went violet! This is definately not what I was going to achieve, but I wanted to use  EVERY COLOUR so badly.. what can I say.. I wouldn’t make a perfect witch 😛

Coming back to the recipe:

I put my pot with the “soup” on a gas stove and cooked it for an hour using very slow fire. I moved the wool a bit to let the dye dissolve in water so it could reach those parts of top which vere on the very bottom. This needs to be done very gently! No stirring! After an hour I put out the fire and let the whole pot cool down (still no touching 😉 ). When cold and done the water should be perfectly clear – the wool should absorb the dye entirely. I handwashed it gently using shampoo to get rid of vinegar smell and let it dry (gentle moves all the time 🙂 ).bu_wark

Here I need to add (I know I sound boring already!) that the gentle you are the better the results are.. My first dyeing attempt resulted in such a felted piece of top that I had to brush it on a hackle. This time the story was fortunately different 🙂 When dry, my wool was basically ready to spin 🙂

On the right – my dyed top. It was definately not what was intended yet after a short while I came to an idea to use it for knitting a colourwork on mittens or socks 🙂



I started to believe in its success when I saw a sample of spun yarn. My plums and cherries looked this way:


When I handwashed the finished yarn and dried it in front of a fireplace ..I must say the yarn turned out to be quite interesting 🙂


I managed to spin 44 g and 125 m which gave me 2.8 m per one gram.

As you see – dyeing in a pot works and the colours are vivid. What I need to focus on next time are:

  • way of placing the top on the pot bottom. In this case my colour transitions were too short, next time I’ll try to make them longer,
  • proper use of dyes. You will have greated control over results if you start sprinklint the top starting from the lightest dyes and finishing with the darker ones. Opposite order may result in having too much brown color in which every amount of yellow will disappear.

To sum up – I am more than happy with the final result. Tomorrow I’ll “cook” another piece of wool 🙂

And to end with.. I must share with you the view I have right behind my fence!


I am sure I will never go back to the city!! 😀

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