I’ve made plans to spend this weekend in Vancouver with my mother sewing my cape with the felt blanket I scrounged from Goodwill a few weeks ago. Beautiful beige that it is, I thought it would be perfect for dyeing a bright color using food coloring. I’ve tried Kool-Aid and was only moderately pleased with the results. Food coloring sold as a paste, used by Melissa the Baker, gave me much better results, with the exception of the purple shades.
Exhibit A: the freshly dyed hanks of Lamb’s Pride dripping dry outside
Exhibit B: a fulled bag that spent five weeks pool side last summer; by the end of Sophie’s swimming lessons, the vibrant magenta and purple tones had all but disappeared, though the turquoise stayed true and the green color was started out pretty subdued.
With that experience under my belt, I’m approaching the process of dyeing my wool blanket with trepidation. I want to make sure that the color is even and that it doesn’t fade. In the past, I dyed the wool on the stovetop in the biggest canning pot I could find. However, I need to leave the blanket in fairly large pieces because of the pattern I’m going to use, so I’m tempted to try dyeing it in the washing machine. Will the hot water that comes out of the faucet be hot enough? Will the dye bath cool off before the dye has set? How much vinegar do I add to a large load in a conventional washing machine? On Pat Sparks’ list, I read a recommendation to add 1/4 cup of vinegar for a quart of water, but how many quarts does my washing machine hold? I’m looking for some feedback and suggestions.