Spent a week dyeing

HI All.....I have spent a pleasant week dyeing 40/2 cotton for a friend.  I used Procion MX dyes, and followed the immersion instructions that can be found at www.prochemical.com to the letter.  I was very, very pleased with the depth of color and especially with only having to let each bath batch for an hour!!  I dyed teal, dark teal, evergreen, yellowed teal, red, and of all things, medium grey.  The grey was the hardest to get right, but I managed to get precisely the color I wanted.  I wish I had had the forethought to take pics of the finished yarns, but I didn't remember before I sent them off to my friend.  Since then I have dyed two skeins of 10/2 Tencel a brilliant fuchsia/red that is bright and wonderful.  I am having a lot of fun!  Next to dye is loom woven shibori done in chenille.....

Anyone else working with Procion MX dyes??




Posted on Sat, 10/24/2009 - 22:24

You are a nice friend!  I haven't used Procion dyes myself but have some undyed tencel to work with sometime this winter so please do write about any differences you find with that fiber.  Isn't the Prochemical site great?  I use their acid dyes for wool and have always been pleased.  Liese

Posted on Sun, 10/25/2009 - 13:30

HI Liese.....Tencel is really easy to dye......the thing you must be sure of is proper scouring before dyeing.  Tencel will give brilliant color and a nice sheen.  I dye it exactly the same way I dye cotton.  I follow ProChems instructions to soak the wetted fiber in the water with dye and salt, then remove the fiber, add the dissoleved soda ash and stir for 5 minutes or so.  I use hot tap water and cover the bucket with a blanket to retain the warmth.  After one hour, a thorough rinse in cool water to remove the soda ash.  Then a wash in HOT water with Synthropol and into a sweater bag to be put through the spin cycle of the washer.  I then either hang skeins to dry (with cotton) or for Tencel, which will elongate if hung while wet, I put the sweater dryer attachment into my dryer (A flat, open piece that allows the yarn to sit in the dryer without tumbling) and run the dry cycle.  When almost dry, I'll hang the skeins to complete drying.   It is important to avoid hanging wet Tencel....it is simply another form of rayon and will behave just like rayon, perhaps not to the same extremes. 

Happy dyeing!


Posted on Mon, 10/26/2009 - 03:39

 Hi Su,

I  dye with Procion dyes using a dedicated (used only for dying/never for food) microwave, more or less using ProChemical and/or Dharma's instructions.  I do my dying in the garage and otherwise would only be able to dye a few months out of the year.  I enjoy the freedom of dyeing my own colors designing my own yarn.

Best wishes.

Posted on Thu, 10/29/2009 - 17:42

I have some Procion dyes.  Does that count?  I actually did use the dyes at Convergence in 2008.  So I have dye, and I have fiber to dye.  I just need to actually dye!  I have tencel, tencel/silk, and bamboo that I bought just for dyeing.

Posted on Thu, 10/29/2009 - 17:52

Hi Su,

I used to dye with Procion dyes but have moved over to Cibacron (Sabracron) F, available from Pro Chemical.  It's also a fiber-reactive dye - requires slightly higher temperatures for vat dyeing than Procion MX, but is WAY easier to wash out excess dye afterwards and the color in the dyebath is much closer to the final color than with Pro MX.  It isn't available in quite as many colors, but since I usually mix my own colors it isn't an issue for me.


Posted on Thu, 10/29/2009 - 18:46


Lol!!  Tencel, tencel silk blend and bamboo all take fiber reactive dye beaufitully, but differently.......have some fun Tina and get to that dyeing!!


Posted on Thu, 10/29/2009 - 18:48

Hi Tien.....I ahve used Sabracron F as well, but have not have any significant difference in washing out excess dyes.  I have also not experienced a problem with the final color being different than what I planned.  Can you please elaborate on the specifics of the differences you encountered?  I wish to learn......

Since either dye can be used for cellulose or prtein fibers, I wonder how significant the differences are......any info appreciated.



Posted on Thu, 10/29/2009 - 19:23

A general question for Procion/Sabracron dyers;  last night I sat at the back listening to a small group of weavers talking about their tencel dyeing workshop and having to rinse and rinse.  Now I read these posts and read about rinsing out all the dye.  As I mentioned above I use the Acid Washfast dyes on my sheeps' fleece and when I do I have complete or darn near total take up and have clear water going into my spetic tank.  So what gives that when dyeing cellulosic with appropriate dyes the fibers aren't fully taking up the dye?  Liese

Posted on Fri, 10/30/2009 - 16:22

Hi Su,

What I've found is that, with MX, it takes four or five rinses to get the water to run clear.  With Sabracron F, it only takes two rinses.  Also with MX some of the colors look different in solution than they do in the finished fabric - can 't remember which ones offhand, but it was enough to be noticeable.  Of course, your mileage (and water, and dyeing methods) may vary...

As for why the dye doesn't take up completely - it's because fiber-reactive dyes react with water as well as with the fiber, so some of the dye bonds to water and won't bond (permanently) to the fiber.  This means some dye stays in the water, and some clings to the fiber without bonding permanently, so there will be dye in the water and in the rinse water after dyeing.


Posted on Sat, 10/31/2009 - 18:22

HI Tien......when I dye with MX, I am *very* careful to only use as much dye as is required for the job at hand.  If you use too much dye, it is a long washout process.  I use the tsp/cup method of preparing my dye solutions, and I have figured a chart of measurements of dyestock necessary for any given weight of fiber and specific color desired.  I have seen a lot of people who just dump very concentrated dyestock into their immersion baths without really knowing the WOG or taking time to figure how much dye is required.  That results in excessive washout.   While I do understand that dye bonds with the water molecules, that dye should rinse out easily as it is not bound to the fiber at all.  I find the key to using MX is to be aware of how much dye is necessary and not use too much.   So I have not had the issue of excessive washout with MX dyes, although red does take longer than other colors.  As for the colors not being the same in solution as on the fiber, that is true, especially with yellows, but I have not found that a problem as I know what color the dye is supposed to turn out.  And for painted warps etc, the dye comes out the color that appears on the yarn when applied, so no worries. 

To Liese - acid dyes exhaust completely....that is why your water is clear.......fiber reactive dyes when dyeing cellulose fibers do not exhaust completely.....as Tien mentioned, some of the dye bonds with the water and the water will not be clear even when dyeing is complete. 

Posted on Sat, 10/31/2009 - 20:05

Thanks to you Sue and Tien for your thoughts but I just can't think this is right that the dyes if weighed & measured used with weighed and measured fiber should bleed like this.  Rinsing this stuff down the drain is polluting; I've talked to Bob a bit last night,  he's an inorganic chemist and I'm going to call Pro Chem on Monday to get more tech info so will report back here with what I learn.  Bob's worked for many years in water treatment in automotive plants so hopefully tech service can tell me what  the components of the MX dyes are and he can weigh in on what he knows. 


Posted on Tue, 11/03/2009 - 21:52

Just following up on what Pro CHemical Tech support had to say...which wasn't much.  Any info about components in the dyes is proprietary,  they are made in India & China, the best & only solution she had was to set the rinse water out to evaporate and then dispose of the residue in with hazardous waste.  So if and when I decide to dye my tencel I'll set up an evaporator, that would allow me to see how much these solids amount to.    Liese

Posted on Sat, 08/10/2013 - 22:43

I wanted to ask you if you can give some advice in how to obtain grey using Procion Mx. I want to make a 5 gradients of grey on a worsted cotton yarn to use in a Black&White (and grey!) project. But it is my first time dyeing and as I search the web I found I could use jet black in the 1/50 concentration but I'd like to obtain as a neutral grey as I can... 



Posted on Sat, 08/10/2013 - 23:57

I also dye with Procion MX on cotton and bamboo.  Bamboo does wonderfully.  Linen does not do as well.  I use sythrapol to remove excess dye in the rinse.

Since I also do batik, this dye is an old friend.  The one thing I'm less than happy about is that unlike the Lanaset I use for wool, I cannot get this dye to exhaust completely.  Also, the basic vat recipe calls for large amounts of salt.  These things concern me for their long-term environmental effect, since I only have a septic tank or some form of dumping (solid or liquid) to get rid of the used dyebath.

I did read on a Ravelry thread, though, that adding the dissolved salt to the dyebath last actually causes more dye to be taken up than if you add it with everything else.  The commentator was a chemist.