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I dyed my first sock blank with Jacquard acid dye. I colored the blank (I made it myself with Bare Stroll Sport) with the dye solution at he recommended strength. When it was all colored I sprayed it with vinegar and wrapped it in plastic wrap. I steamed it in a pot with a lid for 30 minutes. I waited for it to cool and rinsed in lukewarm water. I didn't see any extra dye wash out at this point. I knitted  a pair of socks right off the blank. When the socks were finished they were a little crinkled so I washed them in the sink with a little soap, and I was astonished and disappointed to see blue dye in the water. This is not supposed to happen, is it? What did I do wrong? More importantly, what can I do to make them colorfast? Heat again??

This is a picture of my finished blank followed by a picture of the finished socks. By the way, I used Navy Stroll Sport for the toes and heels.

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Donna, No, this is NOT suppose to happen, but sometimes things can go wrong.  I've never dyed sock blanks, but dye fiber and yarn frequently.  I think that 3 things are important: 1) heat - it should be near 200º (NOT boiling), 2)use vinegar (I put a generous amount in the dye pot. 3) Time... usually 30 minutes is enough, but I have seen it take longer.  Also, after I dye my yarn/fiber, I put HOT tap water into a container to rinse the yarn/fiber.  If I do get any bleeding, I squeeze the dyed item out, and put more vinegar into clear hot water, and re-rinse the item.  That usually does it.

I have also purchased commerciall dyed yarns/fiber and have had them bleed after their first hot wash.  I use the same rinse technique on these too.  Hope this helps.

Susan, Thanks for your prompt reply. I will try the hot water and vinegar solution. I hate to have my DH wear socks that would bleed. Have to fix them somehow.
I hope it works for you as well as it does for me.  Good luck!

Didn't work for me. I used tap water, about as hot as my hands could stand and used a couple of good sized dollops of vinegar; let them sit overnight. Still a lot of dye bleeding out.

I decided to do another sock blank and heated the socks (They were wetted down good and sprayed with vinegar) at the same time as the blank. Both socks and blank bled a lot of dye when rinsing after they cooled.

What could be causing this?  This time I made sure the yarn was heated to 180 degrees,(stuck a thermometer in) and I didn't forget the vinegar.

Could I have used more dye than the yarn could hold?  My 2nd sock blank was 100 grams and I used less than the amount I thought it would take. (1 tsp dye powder mixed with 2 cups water).

Should I just keep rinsing and rinsing until no more dye comes out? Would all the dye rinse out?


OK... let's start out with the weight of your sock blank.  100 grams is about 3.75 oz., so lets round that up to 4 oz. 

The concentration I used was based on 1/3 - 2/3 of an ounce of dye to 16 oz (1 lb.) of fiber.

If you should use 1/3 - 2/3 of an ounce of dye for 16 oz. of fiber, you would use 1/4 of that amount for the 100 gram sock blank.

I rounded the needed dye to 1/2 ounce (half way between 1/3 and 2/3) - which would 3 tsp. Then divide that by 4, and you actually need 3/4 tsp for your 4 oz. of fiber.

I think for my dye baths I used about 1/2 tsp for 4 oz. of fiber, which is about all that I dye at one time. The amount of water should not matter, because it is just the medium you are using to dye the fiber - it does not dilute the dye.

At some point, the yarn should stop bleeding.  I really think you used a little too much dye in your mixture, but you could try mixing your vinegar with your dye mixture (i.e. dye, water and vinegar mixed together), and for the 100 grams of yarn, I would use at least a couple of tablespoons of vinegar.

Something else that I do before dyeing my fiber/yarn is to let the fiber/yarn soak in a slightly soapy bath for at least 30 minutes before actually adding the dye.  This thoroughly wets the fiber and allows it to accept the dye better.  I just put a touch of dish soap into my dye baths.  I really hope I have helped some. I'm so sorry you are having this problem


I guess I will keep on rinsing. Next time I think I will add the vinegar to the dye solution. Would not using enough vinegar cause the dye to bleed out?

Does the fiber get to the point where it will not accept any more dye leaving extra dye in solution?

Do you use less dye when over dyeing than you do when dyeing bare yarn?

Does the yarn need to spend a certain amount of time at 180 degrees or does it just have to reach that temperature?

Do  you use the Jacquard Acid dyes? When I mixed up the yellow dye solution, It turned cloudy and doesn't look right compared to the other colors I used. Have you ever run into this?

I probably use a little too much vinegar... and yes, I suppose if you don't use enough it could cause the bleeding.

Yes, usually the fiber gets to a place that it will take no more dye, but if you use more than needed for the amount of fiber, it will hold the dye, but not be color fast... hence too much dye for the amount of fiber.

I have not overdyeing yet, but I'm thinking it would depend on the colors you are using... if the yarn is fairly dark, it might take more dye.

Each color of dye takes a different amount of time to saturate into the fiber... This chart provides that information. I leave my fiber/yarn at at least 180º for at least 30 minutes, but it has taken up to an hour for the dye to exhaust - leave the water clear.

I do use the Jacquard Acid dyes.  I have had no problem with cloudiness in the water..sometimes after it exhausts, but water is cloudy.



Maybe I didn't heat it enough then. I steamed it for at least an hour, then decided to check the temp. It hadn't reached 180 degrees - so I turned up the heat a bit and left it for another 30 mins - at which point it had got to at least 180.

If it doesn't heat long enough will that let the dye wash out? and would all the dye rinse out or just some of it?

I've done an awful lot of rinsing and I'm getting really bored with it!

I can imagine that this is very frustrating for you. Heat is very important... in fact, I have even heated my dye pot to more than 180º.The combination of the heat, dye, vinegar make the dye set in the fiber.  Keep in mind that water will steam long before it actually reaches the boiling point.

If you don't heat it enough, or if you use too much dye, the dye could wash out afterwards.  I would guess that most of your dye is set.  And probably that it will not ALL rinse out.

I dye my fiber/yarn in a crockpot... I put some water into the pot to heat at high heat, and put a pot on the stove and heat several quarts of water until it is over 180º, and pour that water, my dye and my vinegar into the crock pot and stir.  Then I add my fiber. Cover the pot and come back in about 30 minutes.  Sometimes it takes longer, sometimes not.  I know this sounds awful, but I always consider it an experiment.  

Thank you for posting this link! Just one more question from me: what exactly is "dischargability" noted in the chart?


Thank you for such helpful information, and freely and cheerfully given!


Ramona, Not really sure about that. I was more concerned about the fastness ratings.  I think dischargability is removing the dye from the fabric, but I'm not 100% sure. 


I found this chart sometime back when trying to discover why different colors reacted differently.  It really helped me.

The first time I used the Jacquard acid dyes my friends and I use the dip method, letting the yarn dip more and more each 30 minute simmering time for variegated yarns. Between the 3 of us we did 2 lbs. in each dye batch.  At the end of the day, there was still alot of red in the red pot so I overdyed a 100% cotton t-shirt that I really didn't like the original color.  After letting it simmer for 30 minutes, I turned off the heat source and went inside to cook and serve dinner for my family.  After supper, I checked the dye pot and there was still a lot of color so I just left the t-shirt in the dye until bedtime at which time it had cooled down considerably and took the shirt inside to rinse in a plain water and vinegar solution and then washed it without detergent in the washing machine with a mostly white dish towel, to test the colorfast properties of the shirt.  I now have a lovely pink dish towel and the shirt still leaves a bit of dye on clothes so I have tossed it, I don't want to use it as a cleaning rag as it might (probably) turn all my bleach white load a lovely light pink.  That's the fun of dyeing, the learning process.  Everytime I have dyed I have learned something, either something that delights, or something that horrifies, but it's all a learning process.  Yarns can always be overdyed if you don't like.  I have never thrown away yarn I did not like the color, just saved it for the next time and try some overdyeing.  Have fun!


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