Tips and Tricks: Next Dye Session Bring a Flashlight

Have you had a situation during a dye session, where: you have your solutions, they look ready to pour, but when you do you find you have clumps of wet dye that pours onto your wool? Sometimes, you can rescue it if you’re using a lot of water in your dyeing and you stir aggressively after the pour. Otherwise, you might be stuck with frustration and starting over again because the color is not what you needed or wanted. You’ve wasted time, dye, and possibly even wool! I’ve been there, and started incorporating an LED flashlight into my dye sessions as a way to resolve those clumpy dye issues.

With darker dyes, it can be difficult to confirm if the solution is fully dissolved and ready to pour.

The solution is simple: have an LED flashlight handy when you’re dyeing. Especially with darker solutions, it can be difficult to tell if the solution is fully dissolved. After you’ve made your solution and mixed it, and you’re ready to check if it’s ready to pour, that’s when it’s time to grab your flashlight. Shine your flashlight through the bottom of your container and you will see dark spots where there are still solid clumps of solution – continue to stir your solution until you see no more solid participles floating through the solution when shining that light through the bottom.

With the help of a flashlight, we can see clumps of undissolved dye remain at the bottom of this solution.

This method has worked for me in every situation I’ve had trouble with dissolving dyes, even with hot water. It’s a quick way to see if you’re dye solution is homogenous, and a great way to avoid worrying about whether the concentration of your dye solution is where you want it to be.

Here we see the solution is fully dissolved and ready to pour!

I usually use polypropylene semi-transparent plastic containers for my dyeing – this method will definitely work if you use glass or clear plastic containers. If you use containers that are more opaque, you can check if it will work for you by filling a container with clear water, and shining a flashlight through the bottom. If you can see the light, it should work.

Happy Dyeing!

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