Welcome to my blog!

I hope this will be a place where I can share some of my knowledge and answer any queries you may have on your creative journey.

dyed fabrics microwave feltFeel the fear and do it anyway’ is a phrase that comes to mind when I think about my first forays into the dyeing of fabrics. From the beginning I knew very little about colour mixing and was extremely reluctant to do anything which might damage my beautiful natural silk if I got it wrong.

How should I do it anyway?
I soon realised, however, that the opportunities to purchase dyed fabric were very limited and if I wanted to use it in lots of projects then it was going to prove very expensive and therefore unsustainable long term. In any case it was very unlikely that I would always get the colours I had in mind.
Then I discovered the book ‘Dyeing to Colour’ by Bailey Curtis.
This fabulous book published in 2001, covers many aspects of dyeing all sorts of fabrics and fibres including recipes for each process and makes it all seem very easy. It is well laid out with lots of images, space for note making and comes spiral bound for ease of use.
The secret to success is to work small-scale, play with colour mixing and different effects and get quick results. For me the microwave is the perfect tool, but if you do intend to use it please ensure you keep a separate one for cooking!
Have fun!


  1. Zannah
    27th April 2017

    Hi Jacki, just come across your Blog, very interesting. Like you, I find purchasing different fabrics very expensive. Last Summer, a local farmer gave me 2 huge bags of raw wool, one white and one brown, in both bags the wool was absolutely filthy as you can imagine! Given the cost of pre dyed wool roving, I took a handful of wool roving and spent hours trying to clean it, then brush it and finally dye it using one of the acid dyes in purple. It didn’t work and in the end, I was left with different shades of very light purple, it looked awful . Problem is, I have never used acid dyes before. Does the book ‘Dyeing to colour’ cover acid dyes on wool roving? If so, this is definitely one I’ll be purchasing. Also, since your last class in Portballintrae, I have managed to make another hat and matching flower broach. All on display in my studio. The hat I made at your class has had some alterations. So would like to send you some pictures.

    1. admin
      27th April 2017

      Hi Zannah
      I have never dyed raw wool so can’t comment on that. If you want solid colour wool fibre I would tend to use immersion dyeing so that the fibre has room to move about and absorb the dye slowly. To get full colour strength you will need to weigh the fibres and use 5g of dye for every 100g fibre. You will need to soak the fibres in tepid water (making sure the fibres are completely covered) with a little soap added, to allow them to relax for at least 30 mins. Add fixative (follow dye instruction sheet). Slowly heat water then add warm dye solution, stirring briefly. Continue to heat slowly until a slight simmer is achieved. Do not allow the wool to boil or agitate it in any way as this will cause it to felt. After 15 mins take off the heat and allow to go completely cold in the solution. Rinse until water is clear.

  2. admin
    27th April 2017

    Another really useful resource is the website All About Hand Dyeing by Paula Burch – http://www.pburch.net/dyeing.shtml. Search the site for further information.

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