Saturday, November 5, 2011

Wool Patchwork Dye Project

Ah the ideas that roll around in my head. Like this idea. I love wool and have been collecting pieces here and there and have also pilfered thrift stores for their Pendleton skirts and cut them up for the wool. A few years ago I made these pillows from skirt remnants:

Winter and Harvest Moon

And I've made some patchwork scarves backed with minky:
Pendleton Plaid Scarf with Minky

Now my idea is to make patchwork blankets, no batting or anything, just a patchwork of wool squares BUT then overdyeing the finished blanket with a bright color dye. I got this brilliant idea from the new overdyed rugs that are amazing and beautiful and INCREDIBLY expensive. Someone came up with the idea of taking old oriental rugs, cut into patchwork, sew together and they dye bright pink, purple, green, red, any color really. Some are just dyed and not cut up and patched together. For a mere fraction of a second I considered trying to make one but to dye wool you have to simmer it in the dye and yeah, no way I'm figuring out how to get a rug in a pot on the stove. Here are a few pictures:

So back to my experiment. Purl Soho had a great article on piecing wool which I used as my method, a double seam. Only Purl used felted wool which won't ravel and I used woven wool which will ravel so I'll have to figure that out, later.

I cut up some scraps and sewed them together.
Wool Patchwork Dye Project BEFORE

Then I got some dye that works on wool (I bought this at Hobby Lobby but Dharma Trading has awesome dyes and all the other materials which is where I will get the dye when I'm ready to do the actual blankets)

I have a LOT of experience dyeing cottons so I know the chemical process but have never dyed wool. Wow, it was SO much easier! In spite of the fact that you do have to simmer it on the stove, but the dye went right into the wool and the water was clear afterwards which surprised me. When using procion dyes on cotton, the water still have the dye color in it. Anyway, I used vinegar to set the dye, as directed on the dye packet. I also used a tiny bit of the dye, not the whole packet.

Voila, the finished product!
Wool Patchwork Dye Project AFTER

I can almost hear a collective sigh of disappointment. It's not real exciting but I love it! It gives me an idea of which colors look better after being dyed yellow. Here are some side by side comparisons.

I love this one. The white of course became yellow.

And I REALLY love this one because I'm not a big teal fan, now it's more green.

On this one the right is the before, the left is the after. Interesting, not real exciting.

You may be thinking, why not dye them before you sew them together? That is an option but I'm just loving the overdyed rugs concept which says you use one color on everything.