Steps on Dyeing a Cashmere Sweater

Dear Friends,

Today I dyed a cashmere sweater and here’s my report!
1. Started with an off-white cashmere turtleneck from a thrift store for which I paid $1. It had a small hole and a yellowish spot on the front.
2. First stitched up the hole with the color thread that I intended to dye.
3. Proceed with acid dyes (powder form) to the washing machine. Fill washer with smallest load of HOT water. Add small amount (start with 1/2 tsp) of acid dye while washer is filling.
4. After the washer starts to agitate (delicate load), add sweater. Let agitate 2 min. Add 1 cup white vinegar while machine is agitating.
5. Check color in 2-3 minutes. Add more dye if desired. Stay at this step until you are satisfied with the approximate color. Remember things are darker when wet.
6. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WITH DYEING WOOL OR CASHMERE IS TO KEEP THE GARMENT AT THE SAME TEMPERATURE. It’s the “shock” of moving from hot to warm or cold that will cause shrinking and felting. So you need to keep a close eye on the washer to make sure that the rinse load doesn’t start filling up with cold water (automatic default on my hot water load). To avoid this shocking, I let the washer empty and then set it cycle back to the beginning to let rinse with hot water. Basically manual operation of the washer.
7. Rinse load. HOT water.
8. Washing out excess dye with Synthrapol (also available from Dharma). HOT water. At this point, I let the washing load run out of the washer and spin the sweater a minute or two. Then I took it out of the washer and moved to the bathroom sink. Rinsed about 6 times with HOT water in the sink. This took out the Synthrapol and a lot of excess dye.
9. Roll sweater in towel, squeeze, and lay out on dry towel.
10. Results. Not a very dark, saturated color (I wanted a mocha brown), more like a mocha heathered effect. Shorter cashmere fibers are pulled to the surface by the agitation and therefore the sweater appears more fuzzy than it was. However, a lovely color and overall I am pleased. Very little shrinkage and no felting. Sweater is still drying so I can’t report that I have put it on yet.
11. Possibly a darker color could be obtained by using the simmer on the stove method. I personally am not willing to do this, too big of a mess and too much chance of splattering everything with dye, including myself.
Have fun and report on results!!
Happy New Year,

Comments are closed.