May Your Life Be Like A Basket...Useful...Bountiful...Beautiful...

Basketmaster's Weavings is about my passions, much of which revolves around basket weaving. I weave with reed and I love teaching others to weave. Many of the patterns and styles that I show in the blog are geared to the beginning weaver, or even the brand new weaver. If you have been thinking about wanting to learn to weave, then this blog is for you. Throughout the blog and videos I take you step by step through each and every process of weaving. I want you to be successful in weaving the very first time you try. For the intermediate and advanced weaver, my wish is that you take ideas that I show, mix them up a bit, and incorporate them into your own beautiful creations.

Happy Weaving and Baskets of Blessings to all my visitors,


You may find my YouTube Videos Here.

Listen to Basketmaster's Making our Home a Haven Podcast.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How to Dye Reed

Dear Friends, I know this is an old post but just this past week I've been asked about dying reed from four different weavers.  I never mind answering questions, but that is telling me that it is time to post this again.
Happy Weaving,

Today I would like to post my directions on how I dye my reed. There are several dyes on the market, but I use good old Rit dye and this is my recipe.

I use a large enamel pot and work outside on an outdoor propane burner. I fill the pot about 1/2 full of water which in my case is about 2 1/2 gallons of water. I get the water up to a boil and add one box of powdered Rit die, 1 cup table salt and 1 cup white vinegar. I use powdered Rit only because it cost less than the liquid, but liquid is fine. I use the salt and vinegar to help get the color to really set well. Yes, it will fade if placed in direct sunlight, most dyes will but the salt and vinegar just seem to help keep it from having any natural fading. Using my recipe gives me really rich colors. Once the water is boiling, I turn off the heat and add my reed. I will add 2 1/2 pounds of reed to this mixture. Any more than that, it just doesn't get the intensity of color that I like. Usually I will dye 1 pound of 3/8" flat and 1 pound of 1/4" flat. Then I use 1/2 pound of another size of my choice. This just seems to be what works for me. I open up my pounds of reed and submerge them into the pot of dye doing one pound at a time. I have a big set of barbecue tongs to help push the reed down into the water. Sometimes it wants to float and most times I have to turn it to be sure it gets complete coverage. I have plenty of newspaper on the ground to catch drips and to also lay the reed on to dry once it has achieved it's color. Getting the color usually only takes a few minutes, but I have been known to let the reed soak for up to an hour. Dying reed is a simple process and very fun to watch the colors appear. I don't wear gloves, but I do wear old clothes. Please don't dye it in your kitchen. Accidents can happen too easy and oh what a mess! Also, be sure to visit for color charts, techniques and ideas.
Baskets of Blessings,


Juliana/A Hand Woven Life said...

Good post....dying reed is one aspect of basketry that I really hate (it's not hard, I just don't like doing it...but that's just me), but it's so much cheaper to dye your own that it's good to know how!

Janita R. Hall-Swadley said...

I like it that you are reposting some of your older articles. I'm learning all over again!

As for me, I don't mind dying reed in individual colors, but I cannot stand to make space dyed reed. I usually purchase this from my basket reed supplier.

Nancy also gave me an awesome tip this week about how to get rid of accidental runs in dye. As she said, prevention is always the best (i.e., wiping your reed dry in a cloth before using it on the basket, not allowing it to get wet after it's on the basket, etc.). However, in those unforeseen moments when a little dye does run or spot onto the natural color spokes or weavers: dab a q-tip into a small amount of bleach and CAREFULLY paint the bleach onto the unwanted colored area. It works beautifully, even on navy blue!! Thanks so much for your help, Nancy!

Anonymous said...

Nancy, thanks so much for posting these simple directions. I was looking for some info on dyes for baskets to take to Africa to help some women there who are making baskets to support HIV AIDS orphans. These dyes are easy, available and safe.

Grab a cup of coffee and take time to enjoy some posts from the past

Affiliate Disclosure Statement

Some of the links/codes on this blog are affiliate links, which means if you chose to make a purchase using my links, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. I recommend these products because I have found them to be helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make. Every product I recommend, I use myself.