Find a short video on how to dye with these new RIT DyeMore Synthetic Dyes here: How to dye Harakeke with RIT DyeMore Synthetic
Dyeing Phormium Tenax/Harakeke with RIT DyeMore: You can dye dried (pre-processed) or fresh Harakeke for this (it depends on your preference) but generally speaking the lighter colours will take better on an already dried material. You can either re-moist the bundle first or slowly immerse/curl it into the hot dye. Please be aware that if you boiled the harakeke before, too much of new boiling may result in the whenu disintegrating while weaving – it depends on the variety of the plant.
If using Green/fresh – be aware that the true colour will not emerge until the whenu are completely dry.
I use half a bottle of dye to about 3 inches of water that I bring to the boil – I may add more as I go to achieve a darker colour or if I have a lot of bundles to dye. Best to do this mahi outside or in an area where dye splashes are no issue or area easy to clean up.
Rinse bundles after dyeing in cold water and hang to dry or weave right away as desired (it pays to let them dry a bit though).
Clean pots between use with hot, soapy water and a brush.
No salt or vinegar needed but each weaver has their preference.
Do not use too thick bundles as the dye will not penetrate the part where you tied them – my perfect number is 10 whenu per bundle but if I tie them at the muka ends up to 15 are good.
PLEASE NOTE: Individual results will vary – depending on the type and thickness of harakeke, amount of water vs dye and boiling time.
More info about RIT Dye and Mixing Charts can be found by following this link.