Although there are many ways to create colored fibers, the two main processes commonly used to create colored yarns include package dyeing and solution dyeing. Let’s take a look at each:
Solution-dyed yarns are man-made and are created by adding colorant and additives to a polymer melt, which is then extruded to create yarn fibers. This results in fibers that are fully pigmented in a one-step process. Solution-dyed yarns have properties like UV resistance and color fastness and can be dyed in an unlimited range of colors. The yarn is typically produced in very large dye lots, with minimum order quantities of 10,000 lbs per color.
Package dyeing is a multi-step process where natural yarn is dyed in a solution at high temperatures. With package dyeing, you have more flexibility for color customization since the lots produced are typically smaller, with a minimum order quantity of 150 lbs per color. Some crafters prefer package-dyed yarns because they achieve an impressive range of colors using a variety of natural fibers.
Dyeing Methods Used for Natural Fibers
When it comes to dyeing natural fibers, the yarn dyeing methods used determine important performance properties including color fastness, vibrancy, consistency, and resistance to fading.
Fibers can be dyed at any stage of their development. Stock dyeing is done in the fiber stage, top dyeing in the combed wool stage and yarn dyeing is done after the fiber has been spun into yarn.
Stock dyeing involves dyeing a staple fiber like cotton or wool before it is spun. There are two stock dyeing methods. The first involves removing the packed fiber from a bale, packing it into large vats, and circulating dye liquor through the mass of fiber at elevated temperatures. The second, bale dyeing, involves placing the entire bale in a specially designed machine and then forcing the dye liquor through it.
Color is well penetrated into the fibers with stock dyeing and does not crock readily. Stock-dyed fiber does not spin as well as undyed fiber because it loses some of its flexibility, but lubricants are added to overcome this issue.
Top (Fiber) Dyed
Similar to stock dyeing, top dyeing involves dyeing a fiber before it has been fully spun into yarn. Top dyeing is wool that has been combed to remove short fibers, which are then delivered in a ropelike form on spools. The spools are then placed in the dye liquor that is circulated through it, which helps ensure very even dyeing.
Yarn dyeing involves dyeing material after it has been spun into yarn. There are several methods of yarn dyeing but they all share the same purpose—to have the dye penetrate the fibers in the core of the yarn. That’s why yarn-dyed fabrics are usually deeper and richer in color. Dyeing in the yarn form also allows for the creation of interesting patterns in the weaving process.
Dyed Yarn From Meridian Mill House
We hoped you learned a little more about commercial dyeing processes. Here at Meridian we can dye top and yarn into solid colors. We have also top dyed and packaged dyed yarn for many years in the commercial industry. We also offer a select few packaged dyed yarns on one pound cones. Explore our full line of natural fiber yarns online or reach out to let us know what else you’d like to see in our shop or inquire about custom dyeing options.