Having been increasingly absorbed in the endless creative possibilities of dyeing pieces of felt after making them, I wanted to play with other fibres which can be incorporated into felt. These include banana top, milk protein and plastic fibre! Each has its own properties for strength, softness, length etc and reacts differently in the dye bath.

Unusually for me, I decided on a fairly logical approach. First I laid out a large rectangle of merino wool fibre, just two layers. Then I added strips of the different fibres, keeping careful notes of which ones were where.

After felting the piece, I cut it into 4 strips so that each one would have all the fibres I had used. Each was then dyed using a different technique or dye.

felt dye fibre sample undyed

Undyed felt with fibres

Here it is cut into strips and dyed.

felt dye fibre sample

dyed and rearranged to show the fibres running horizontally

From top to bottom the fibres are:

tussah silk
silk laps
soya bean fibre
cotton/silk yarn
cotton/linen yarn
plastic fibre
silk throwsters
banana top
bright trilobal
flax linen
milk protein

The turquoise strip was dyed with Eurolana turquoise dye.
The green with a mix of turquoise and yellow dyes (Wilton food colour)
The purple with Wilton violet food colour (which I know breaks to give purple and turquoise and sometimes pink)
The orange with Eurolana red and warm yellow dyes.

I wasn’t sufficiently scientific to standardise the amount of dye I used.

What fascinates me is how some fibres pick up different parts of a colour mix, so the violet Wilton food colour gives a vibrant teal or turquoise with silk and the bright trilobal is a rich burgundy.

Click on the image to see which fibres are shown.

This is, of course, a very rough guide, because when I use more or less dye in the bath these qualities change. But it is useful to know which fibres resist the dye and remain white.

I’ll be posting more pictures soon of some vase covers I’ve made this way, and my growing floral collection.

By |2017-09-10T18:22:21+00:00January 21st, 2016|dyeing, felt and fabric|