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What type of dye do you use?

Q. What type of dye do you use? I have Procion fiber reactive dyes that I use for another purpose, and the instructions say they can be used with wool. I dyed two batches and it seemed to come out okay, but on the various spinning sites I've visited I have seen no mention of Procion dyes.

A: I use both fiber reactive and acid dyes for my wools. The difference seems to be that if you use the correct amounts of dye, vinegar and heat, the acid dyes can actually exhaust the dye pot so that all of the dye bonds to the fibers. Then the dye pot water will be almost clear.

However, you can't use acid dyes with any plant fiber, like cotton, flax, hemp or ramie, so I keep both kinds of dyes. If I am traveling and need to dye both animal and plant fibers in the same workshop, I will carry my fiber reactive dyes. They bond to cellulose/plant fibers when an alkaline like washing soda is added and they bond with protein/animal fibers when an acid like vinegar is added. But fiber reactive dyes also bond with the water so the dye pot never exhausts. Traditionalists always insist on acid dyes for protein and fiber reactive for cellulose.

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