microwave dyeing
  • I've been working on a Luna Lapin stuffed rabbit. The patterns call for a lot of wool felt. I found some great 100% merino felt on Etsy. Rayon felt does not dye like wool felt. Anyway, to make a long trial and error short. One yard of white felt was much cheaper than buying all the shades and sizes that I needed.

    I cut the wool sizes out for the patterns, for example one piece was 9x9 inches. After sewing a white rabbit, I took my various sizes for the coat, boots, shoes, etc. into my barn where I have an old microwave. Into dedicated regular mouth canning jars, I added 3/4 of a quart of water, 1/4 c. of vinegar and 1/8 t. of dye. I stirred it well and nuked it for 30 seconds. In the meantime, I pre-wetted all of my wool. I first dyed a pale spring green. 1/8 t. of yellow and scant 1/8 t. of blue. I push the 9x9 inch square into the jar, cover it with plastic wrap. Put the microwave on 25% power.
    And nuke it for 4 minutes, put a canning jar lid on, and shake jar. Remove lid and nuke it for another 4 minutes. This keeps it below the boiling point so it doesn't felt more. Microwaves vary so, figure out how fast yours comes to a boil and then dial it down till it takes 4x that long to come to a boil and then subtract a minute so it never boils.

    Now with hot pads, remove it from the microwave. Pull out your wool and leave it to cool. I then put in a 9x9 scrap of silk and let it sit in the jar for an hour. A few hours have gone by and now I rinse. All the color is gone from the water, this is how I know that no dye is left.

    Now I let them dry. Using this same process I dyed spring colors for my Easter Rabbit. And a tiny bit of silk embroidery thread and wool thread to make coordinated sewing possible. This was done with acid dye. Each jar netted a scrap of wool and a scrap of paler silk for linings, etc. For darker colors add more dye or leave the wool in the jar overnight.

    I have used this technique for dyeing cotton squares for quilting with fiber reactive dye.