I was asked recently, “How can your yarn REALLY be color
fast if you don’t use mordants?”  

There are 2 parts to answering to this question.  

Firstly, and easiest, animal fibers such as wool, alpaca
and silk really don’t need a mordant to chemically set dye.  Warm-ish water and
acids (such as KoolAid and white vinegar) serve to “open up”the fiber to accept
the dye.  I have found that yarns that haven’t been treated with mordants do
take up dye a bit more slowly, though.

Secondly, and trickier, is heat!  Heat is what we use to
permanently “set” the color once the yarn has taken it up.  Ever put your fave
blouse through the laundry not realizing that you’ve gotten spaghetti sauce or
red wine (both acidic) on it – only to pull it out of the dryer to find a stain
not quite as dark or vivid as the original offending substance?  And once it’s
been through the dryer, you KNOW that stain just is NOT coming out?  Because
it’s been heat set.  

Heat, however, can be tricky when you’re working with
animal fibers.  Back to that darned dryer….ever have your absolute favoritest
sweater in the world go through there?  Yeah…a teeny tiny felted up mess when
you do find it!  Agitation and heat are to blame!  Which is why I mostly work
with super wash wools.  They don’t felt up in your laundry, or in my dye pots! 
But even so, I’ve found just the right amount and length of heat to set colors
and not felt the yarn!  You don’t want to know how much roving I’ve ruined
looking for that magic formula!

So yes, our yarns really are color fast!!  It just takes
a bit of time and patience…but then, so does knitting and crocheting it….so if
you’re gonna put in the time and patience to make something truly wonderful with
our yarn, why shouldn’t we put in the time and patience to make our yarn
wonderful for you AND the environment??  

Which reminds me, I’ve got some finished items that I’ve
washed and blocked and worn and washed again that I really do need to post
pictures of!! 

 



Comments are closed.