Bleeding dyes, what to do?

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by Rob Blomquist, Feb 12, 2004.

  1. Rob Blomquist Formerly Tight Loops

    Posts: 1,343
    Mountlake Terrace, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Every once in awhile I run into some material that just doesn't hold its dye. Well, problems have been so bad that I dropped one Seattle area retailer like a rock, and occasionally with others.

    Recently it was with some red dyed peacock quills. I wanted to split it, so I soaked it in cool water for about an hour, during which it lost most of its dye. I tied one "dusty rose" Intruder, and have tossed it out.

    I assume that the material has not had its dye fixed. Is there some way to fix the dye so it will stop bleeding?

    Rob
  2. Big K1 Large Member

    Posts: 538
    Duvall, WA, U.S.A.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I have had the same problem with dyed schlappen.
    It does not lose all its color but alot bleeds out.
    Once its wet again it doesn't seem to matter.
    I don't think the fish care near as much as I
    do.

    Kevin
  3. SG New Member

    Posts: 6
    Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Are you asking how to dye? Or what to do with the material that's loosing its color?
  4. Joe Smolt Member

    Posts: 532
    Bothell, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +9 / 0
    Rob:

    I don't have a known solution to your problem, but if you are willing to experiment, I would suggest soaking the feathers in a solution of epson salt (saturate the solution so there is some undissolved salt and pour off the liquid part for your bath) intead of water. The idea is to make the dye like a hard water salt like lime scale and perhaps make it harder to wash out. This will work if it is one type of dye and I have no idea if your problem dyes are of this class.

    Joe
  5. Philster New Member

    Posts: 2,479
    .
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    >Recently it was with some red dyed peacock quills. I
    >wanted to split it, so I soaked it in cool water for
    >about an hour, during which it lost most of its dye. I
    >tied one "dusty rose" Intruder, and have tossed it
    >out.
    >

    First of all, never throw anything out. Second, in nature colors are almost always blended so a little bleed, say black onto pink in a marabou fly is a good thing in my book.

    Your dusty rose peacock topped with some soft pink ostrich herl, and four or so long skinny slinky red saddle hackles would have made a very interesting intruder indeed, good for clear water.

    I agree that there are cases that are just ridiculous, like when your fingers end up blacker than the marabou tail on a wooly bugger, but some bleed ain't so bad...
    :professor
  6. SG New Member

    Posts: 6
    Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    My tips!
    Dye your own material!
  7. Tim Cottage Formerly tbc1415

    Posts: 1,684
    Outer Duvall
    Ratings: +243 / 1
    If the dye is not set properly during the dying process, I doubt that there is anything that you can do after the fact, except to wash the loose color out and dye them again yourself. Good materials are where you find them, meaning that you can find both great and lousy stuff at EVERY shop. I suspect many material suppliers over-dye their feathers and fur to make it more attractive on the shelf. In addition, due to the demands of a highly competitive market their quality control can never be as good as what you can achieve at home regardless of their best intentions.

    So you can either dye it yourself or as Philster said, you can take advantage of your faded colors.

    Last year I found a large box of hackles and dubbing that I had forgotten about in a shed attached to my pump-house. This stuff was out there for at least seven or eight years and it smelled mouldy. During the summer, I hung it out on my porch for a month or two to air out but it still smelled bad so I soaked each item individually for a few days in water with lots of Dawn dishwashing liquid. After a thorough rinse and drying, virtually all of the dyed material had faded badly. In some cases, as much as 50% of the color was gone.
    These materials are now some of my favorites for summer steelhead flies.

    Although I understand your agitation “If I wanted faded red I would have bought faded red…Dammit” try to see them as unique colors that you don’t often see offered at most shops.
  8. Rob Blomquist Formerly Tight Loops

    Posts: 1,343
    Mountlake Terrace, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    What to do with the material that's loosing its color.
  9. luv2fly2 Active Member

    Posts: 1,570
    .othello
    Ratings: +29 / 0
    the lenore lake water will bleach the flies you fish so when a lighter pastel is desired just haul your inventory to lenore toss it in the drink. lighter is longer. i have heard soap lake is medicinal as well as a quicker bleach than lenore but that is yet to be tested.
  10. Rich McCauley Meiser & Mohlin

    Posts: 105
    Tacoma, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Rob,
    This is just a suggestion that MIGHT work on some of the materials with which you are experiencing difficulty. Take a small amount of the material and soak it overnight in plain vinegar. Resist the temptation to upgrade to a nice wine or balsamic … just increases the cost … not the result. Acid dyes are “fixed” using … that’s right … acid and vinegar is an acid. I use a very heavy dose of vinegar or a very small amount of muriatic acid (the old name for HYDROCHLORIC ACID) in home dyeing to fix the dye. I don’t know how effective this will be after the fact, but it is worth a try on a small amount of material that you are displeased with.
    Rich