Dartmoor Dyeing, not Dartmore Dyeing!

I failed to spell the yarn dyeing process correctly and figured that someone might want to know what Dartmoor Dyeing is! This post is from “Weaving Yarnz”and she explains it quite well. Read some more of her posts by clicking on the Weaving Yarnz link above!

Tuesday, 25 March 2008
Eye Candy
Each summer our Guild holds a retreat and about 25 women abandon home and family for an uninterrupted weekend where they can play with fibre to their heart’s content. This year the theme of the retreat was ‘Dyeing with a Difference’, and one of the ‘different’ things we did was Dartmoor Dyeing.Dartmoor Dyeing is a little easier to do than explain, but briefly, it involves a full greasy fleece and 4 dyepots of red, blue, yellow and jade, or a mix of blue and green of some description. The greasy fleece is divided into 3 equal parts; the first of these 3 divisions is further divided into 4. Each of the 4 pieces put into a different dyepot and after simmering for about 30 minutes the fibre is removed from the pots, rinsed well, divided into 4 again. One piece of each colour is set aside as a control colour and the remaining pieces returned to the dyepots but this time to a different coloured pot to the one they originally came from; ie. one piece each of red, blue and yellow goes into the jade pot, one piece of blue, yellow and jade into the red pot, and so on. (I did say it was easier to do than explain!). They’re all simmered again for 20 minutes or so, removed from the pots, rinsed and put out to dry.

The dyepots are replenished with more dye and vinegar (using the same water) and the same process is repeated with the 2nd of the initial 3 divisions; more dye replenishment and the final of the 3 divisions is done the same way. What you end up with is a feast for the eyes – 48 piles of glorious colour …


The left column are the results from the red pot, the next from the blue, then yellow and jade.


And a close-up of 2 of the results which show the effect obtained by using a greasy fleece (in this instance, very greasy, having only been shorn the previous day). The left one was first dyed in the red pot, then in the yellow; the right one was red first, then jade. The variations in colour are the result of the greasy parts of the staple resisting the dye in the initial simmering but the drier tips taking it up well; then on the second run the grease has been boiled off and the second colour has been taken up.

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3 Comments

Filed under Dyeing

3 responses to “Dartmoor Dyeing, not Dartmore Dyeing!

  1. Beautiful collection. I use a similar technique when dyeing, but I’ve never tried untreated wool. Thanks for sharing.

    • nuvofelt,
      the untreated wool leaves subtle color variations due to the lanolin being less intense each time you put it into another color of dye. When we did the process at the Retreat, we used dishsoap with the vinegar and dye and that helped reduce the lanolin and create lovely colors.

  2. I’ll be giving it a go at some point. Think I could use the wool with my embellisher!

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