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Gaywool Bush Blends


Directions for Gaywool Bush Blends

  1.  Stove Top method
  2. Steam Dyeing Method
  3. Microwave Dyeing Method
  4. Random Dyeing Method
  5. Cold Water Dyeing Method.

1.Stove Top Method

Dyeing Equipment.

Dyebath .....Enamel or steel pot.

Spoons, containers to mix dye, buckets x 2

Heat source, gas burner, hotplate (stove)

Weigh fibre & record weight.


  • Weigh dye or use a heaped dessert spoon as an appropriate measure.
  • Rate is 12-16gms dye or half an ounce of dye to 100gms/3.5oz fibre.
  • Wet fibre thoroughly with warm water using a little kitchen detergent. 
  • Fill dyebath with enough water to sufficiently cover the fibre.
  • Dissolve dye in hot water and add to dyebath and stir.
  • Add fibre to dyebath, gradually increase the temperature to boil. 
  • Gently move the fibre in the dyebath with the assistance of a plastic/metal spoon. Do not stir rapidly as this may cause felting/fibre damage.
  • After 30 minutes (less for paler shades) remove fibre from dyebath. Rinse in warm water & dry.


2. Steam Dyeing Method.


This method is recommended for fibres that are delicate to handle and have a tendency which requires a more careful approach when dyeing at hot temperatures.

Gaywool Originals & Bush Blends are all in one acid dyes which have the acid component and the levelling agent essential to stabilize the dyebath at the correct ph level.

 The steam set method is ideal to use for slivers/tops/rovings, especially if they have a silk component. This method is also very good to use on the luxury protein fibres such as angora or cashmere.


Dyeing Equipment.

  • Stainless steel or enamel pot for steaming. (Do not use a steamer that has been used for food preparation.)
  • A Steel rack or steaming pot. Secure lid for pot
  • Newspaper, preferably older than a week.
  • Old towel, rolling pin, plastic cup or container for mixing dyes.
  • Ice cream container
  • Wooden or plastic spoons.


Use smaller amount of diluted dye at the start. You can always make the fibre darker by adding more dye. Experiment and record your procedure if trying to replicate your dyeing application.

Try to handle the fibre as little as possible.


 Weigh fibre, record weight and then soak in warm water.

  • Wrap fibre in old towel by using a rolling pin or empty bottle and squeeze out excess water but keep moist.
  • Dilute required amount of dye in a small amount of boiling water/hot water. If the dye does not dissolve well use a fine strainer or nylon stocking and rub the dye until it is completely diluted.
  • Make sure you do not add too much water to the dye. You only need enough dye to pour over the fibre without too much excess.
  • Wet newspaper sheets, (does not need to be too thick but thick enough not to fall apart when steamed)
  • Prepare steamer.
  • Place fibre on top of newspaper and then gently pour diluted dye over the fibre. Alternatively you can place the fibre into an empty plastic ice cream container, pour the dye over the fibre then using a wooden or plastic spoon gently spread the dye through the fibre. Again, another alternative could be to use a syringe to inject the fibre with the dye. After this, take out the fibre (use gloved hands or 2 large spoons) and wrap in the newspaper.
  • Place newspaper onto rack or steamer pot. Bring steamer to the boil, then simmer between 2-3 hours, gently turning the newspaper every 30 minutes. Make sure you have good rubber gloves on when doing this.
  •  Check pot for water levels regularly and replace when required.
  • After the steaming period has completed, take out fibre and put it in an old towel and into the sink. Use a rolling pin to squeeze out excess dye.
  • Wash fibre gently in warm water and dry.


Note: If you want to experiment using a variegated (rainbow) method, instead of diluting the dye, just sprinkle the dye powder or dye colours over the moist fibre. Then wrap in newspaper and steam. Alternatively you could try to wrap the fibre in a plastic bag after you have applied the dye making sure you do not have too much liquid.



3. Microwave Dyeing Method

Dyeing Equipment.


Plastic container (eg ice cream container)

Small plastic/ceramic cup (for diluting dye)

Spoons (wooden/plastic or metal for mixing dye)

 Rubber gloves & face mask. Tongs

Microwave safe container & lid. Use either glass, plastic or ceramic.

Water jug or bucket, syringe.

Exhaust Dyeing......Using one colour or a combination of colours.

  • Weigh fibre/fabric & record weight.
  • Soak fibre in warm/hot water until it is thoroughly saturated. The longer you soak the fibre the better the migration of the dye through the fibre.
  • Measure the amount of dye to the weight of fibre. You can use a heaped dessert spoon as an approximate measure or use the rate of 12-16gms or half of an ounce of dye to 100gms/3.5oz fibre. Please note: these measurements are only recommendations. It is up to the individual dyer to adapt & record their own results to replicate and suit their own requirements.
  • Dilute the dye with a small amount of hot water (eg half cup) in a plastic cup or equivalent and stir until the dye & crystals dissolve creating a dye liquid.
  • To your microwave safe container add enough water to cover the fibre. Add dissolved dye to water & stir thoroughly until dye liquid is evenly distributed.
  • Add wet fibre to container and gently move fibre around in container so that the fibre takes up the dye evenly. After you have done this a few times the fibre will be ready to heat.
  • Heat fibre on high at intervals of 3-5 minutes until the dye exhausts or is close to being exhausted. For the dye to evenly migrate into the fibre it is recommended to turn the fibre 2-3 times during the dyeing process.
  • Check water level & ensure that the fibre/fabric is still covered with water. It helps to pat down the fibre into the dye mixture when checking water level or turning over fibre/fabric.
  • After you are satisfied that the dye has absorbed sufficiently into the fibre/fabric leave the fibre in the container to cool (dye will continue to exhaust).
  • Rinse fibre in luke warm or cold water then hang to dry ( yarn ) or place on table/bench (fibre).
  • As heat settings on microwaves can vary considerably your microwave may be better suited to heat the fibre on a medium setting. It is up to you to discover the best setting which suits your microwave. To duplicate dyeing results it is recommended to record your times & settings.


4. Random Dyeing Method


  •  Soak fibre for up to an hour in hot water.
  •  Place the soaked fibre into the container spreading it out evenly. 
  •  Measure dye. If using two colours, allow for half of the dye quantities for each colour that you would be using for exhaust dyeing.  Example: half a desert spoon for each colour to to100gms/3.5oz fibre. Alternatively, 6-8 gms of each colour.
  •  Mix each dye with half to three quarters of a cup of hot water to make your dye solution. Stir dye solution until crystals are dissolved.
  •  Use a syringe to inject the dye or pour dye solution over one end of the fibre & another colour over the other end. Aim to leave some undyed fibre in between each colour.
  •  Cover container with a microwave safe lid. Place a container of water in the microwave to prevent microwave atmosphere from  drying out. Spread the dye liquid through the fibre by patting down with a spoon.
  •  Heat on high at 2-3 minute intervals. Check moisture levels in container. If it looks too dry add a cup of water to container. Turn  over fibre and add more dye solution if required.
  •  When dyeing is complete take out container, gently take off lid & let fibre cool. When cooled take out fibre and rinse in either luke  warm or cool water and dry.



  •   Cover container with a lid which will let steam escape. If using plastic to cover your container ensuring that you make holes so the   steam can escape.
  •   Place a separate container of water in to the microwave  to ensure the microwave atmosphere does not dry out.
  •   Use tongs or two wooden spoons to turn the fibre during dyeing intervals.
  •   If dyeing is uneven or has undyed patches this may be the result of either tying your yarn too tightly or not having your fibre    adequately saturated with water. This could result in an insufficient amount of water/dye liquid migrating through the fibre.
  •   If fibre is too light in colour with a substantial amount of dye still in the container you may not have heated the fibre for a long  enough period.
  •  If your fibre is the correct colour you are aiming for, and you have excess dye left in the container, you may have used too much  dye.Please note that darker colours will not exhaust as well as lighter colours. Exhaustion rates will vary.
  •  You can try sprinkling dye randomly over your saturated fibre instead of using a diluted solution.
  •  Use the Gaywool colour card to compare your dyeing results. Most yarns in the colour card are dyed with a depth of shade between 1.5 & 2%.  Which are medium to deep shades. Experiment with different strengths of dyes to understand how each colour can produce many shades.
  • Try mixing dyes to make your own new colour.


Safety Issues.


  •  Do not use any metal containers or any other metal in your microwave.
  •  Handle hot containers with care. Make sure you let the steam escape from the container before lifting off the lid.
  •  Wear rubber gloves/oven mittens when handling hot containers & dye.
  •  Avoid acid fumes when lifting off lids.
  •  Use an exhaust fan if dyeing in your kitchen & have plenty of fresh air come into the dyeing area.
  •  Cover dyeing area such as tables & benches with newspapers or some other covering to avoid dye contamination.
  •  Keep dyes and all hot equipment out of the reach of children.


5. Cold Water Dyeing Method.

Cold Water Dyeing Using a Shallow Dyebath

Equipment & Chemicals

 Shallow dyebath, plastic, ceramic or metal (suggested size  Length 400ml , width 300ml, depth 150ml.)

 Rubber gloves , buckets, large spoons, teaspoons. Jug/Kettle for hot water. Mask. Urea & dyes. (Urea is a garden fertilizer which can be obtained from garden supplies.)

Quick Method.....45min-1hour.

Weigh fibre & record weight.

Pre soak fibre in warm water until the fibre is completely saturated.

Mix urea with boiling water to dissolve  granules completely.  Rate is 100g per 1 litre of water or ratio 1:10.

Add urea solution to fibre & soak for a minimum of 10 minutes.

Fill dyebath with enough  cold water to adequately cover the fibre.

Following directions on dye packet measure  specific amount of dye and dissolve in boiling water. Mix dye solution by stirring with a spoon until crystals are completely dissolved.

Add dye to dye bath & stir dye liquid so that is evenly dispersed throughout the dyebath. Add urea mixture left over from soaking.

Add fibre to dyebath and with your gloved hands work the dye into the fibre (very important). Leave dye to sit for between 45mins & 1 hour.

Remove fibre and rinse in warm water and dry.


 You will have a good deal of dye residue remaing in the dyebath. We suggest that you use this by added more fibre to take up the remaining dye.  Most colours in the Gaywool originals colour range and the deeper colours in the Gaywool Bush Blends would be in this category.

The pastel shades in both the Gaywool Originals & bush blends have much less dyestuff and we recommend when dyeing with these colours with this quick method.increase the quanity of dye by 15 to 20%. If you have a dyeing result which is not even we suggest that you add more dye to the dye bath and re-dye, not forgetting to work the dye into the fibre. Make sure that when dyeing skeins to tie loosely in 3 places. This will allow the dye liquid to evenly penetrate the fibre and prevent skeins from tangling up.

The use of urea is optional but we do recommend using this as it assists in swelling the fibre to allow the dye to migrate and produce an even dyeing result.

 Please note that this quick cold water method will absorb less dye than the longer 24hr-48 hr method. Some colours will not absorb the dye solution as well as others but most colours do work well considering the quick dyeing time and lack of heat. This dyeing system does have a flexibility which will enable the fibrecraft person to accurately mix & repeat colours knowing that their dyeing results can be quick and easily achieved.


Cold Water Dyeing Using a Shallow Dyebath


 Slower Method......................   Dyeing time 24 to 48 hours 


Weigh fibre & record weight.

Pre soak fibre in warm water until the fibre is completely saturated.

Mix urea with boiling water to dissolve  granules completely.  Rate is 100g per 1 litre of water or ratio 1:10.

Add urea solution to fibre & soak for a minimum of 10 minutes.

Fill dyebath with enough  cold water to adequately cover the fibre.

Following directions on dye packet measure  specific amount of dye and dissolve in boiling water. Mix dye solution by stirring with a spoon until crystals are completely dissolved.

Add dye to dye bath & stir dye liquid so that is evenly dispersed throughout the dyebath. Add urea mixture left over from soaking.

Add fibre to dyebath and with your gloved hands work the dye into the fibre (very important).

Leave dye to sit for between 24  & 48 hrs  in the sun if possible. 

Remove fibre and rinse in  cold or warm water . This will depend on the colour and the depth of shade you have used.

Hang to dry.



With this coldwater method, most Gaywool colours are colourfast and work very effectively and have the same  excellent results as the hot water methods. 

The longer the fibre soaks the deeper the colour. It is up to the end user to experiment and record their results as some colours will work more effectively than others

.This method is easy to do and is very useful in dyeing larger amounts but exhaustion rates are much less than the hot water methods where up to 98/100% exhaustion can be achieved.

 Cold Water Dyeing Using Plastic Wrapping


 Cold water dyeing can be a very useful dyeing technique especially when dyeing large quanities of animal fibres. Fleece, yarns, sheepskins, slivers,tops & woolen garments can all be dyed with this method. 


A base solution consisting of urea is used to assist in opening up the fibre so the dye can then penetrate and attach to the fibre. Adding a levelling agent can also help to maximize an even dyeing result.

Dyeing Equipment & Chemicals.

Urea (garden fertilizer)

Albegal Set (levelling agent) Optional

Black Plastic. (or garbage bag)

Rubber gloves & mask.

Table, buckets, containers (mixing dyes)

Spoons, scales (if available)

 Method 1.  This method is most suitable for random dyeing or straight dyeing with one colour.

  • Weigh fibre & record.
  • For yarns, slivers,rovings soak in warm water until saturated then padd dry. For fleece scour/wash until traces of dirt dissapear, then pad dry. 
  • Mix urea with boiling water to make a base solution. (you will have to stir constantly for the urea to start to dissolve) . Rate is 1:10 eg 100gms urea to 1 litre of water.Once the urea is turning into a liquid texture you can add some albegal set (oppositonal). The amounts to use depend on the quanity of fibre. 
  • Measure required quantity of dye and dissolve in hot water.
  • Prepare enough plastic to cover the fibre quantity.You can either use a plastic bag or cut a section of black plastic to size.
  • Prepare fibre on plastic and then pour urea mixture over the fibre and then add the dye solution. Rolls of damp paper can be used to make a border around the fiber so that the liquid mixture is contained in the dyeing area.
  • Use your gloved hands to work the dye/urea mixture into the fibre. When satisfied that the liquid is evenly distributed throughout the fibre, wrap the fibre in the plastic. Use tape or string to tie up the wrapped fibre.
  • Store the dyed fibre for a minimum of 24 hrs preferably in direct sunlight to assist in heating the plastic.
  • After 24hrs to 48 hrs wash off the dye solution in warm water. This may take several changes of warm water depending on the fibre type.
  • Hang fibre to dry or if dyeing a fleece/sheepskin use a method of drying which uses the sun & breeze to the best effect.