You Expect Me To Talk? No Mr. Corn, I Expect You To Dye

Not quite the James Bond dialogue from Golfinger when Goldfinger expected Bond to die, just as I expected my corn fibre to dye.

I’ve been spinning for a while and love to try all of these crazy types of fibres, soy, milk, rose, mint, bamboo, and the list goes on for as many new types of fibres I can find. I also know that different fibre types require different dyes. They’re mostly divided into three categories: dyes for animal fibres and silk, dyes for plant fibres and dyes for synthetic fibres.

I’ve been successful in dyeing until I tried corn fibre.

I figured it required the same dye as that used for any plant fibre such as cotton, ramie, bamboo and so on. In my first attempt, I used a Procion MX dye. I followed the directions carefully, immersed the corn fibre along with some cotton. Everything was a rich hunter green. I rinsed out the cotton and all was well. I rinsed out the corn and…Oh my God! No! Not possible! ALL the colour rinsed right out. That was a huge disappointment.

Over a year later, I made a second attempt. I varied the dye intensity and the heat of the water. The vivid blue colour was fantastic until…blast it! All of the colour rinsed right out…again!

Mr. Corn, I expect you to dye!

Next stop. The Internet. The source of all knowledge. It turns out that you have to treat corn fibre as a synthetic, therefore requiring synthetic dye for it to stick. A quick trip to Michaels for a bottle of Rit dye and a fresh attempt was made.

I got my fibre nice and wet, and immersed it into my pot of hot water that I kept at a temperature just shy of boiling.


The colour was absorbed to a lovely pink – so far, so good but I’d been here before.


The truth was in the final rinse. I barely dared hope that this time was a success. The dye in the dye bath was completely exhausted. Could it be? With fingers crossed, I rinsed out the corn fibre and to my utter delight the yarn stayed pink!


Lesson learned and it may also be a cautionary tale. I have other types of fibres made from plant cellulose. It will be interesting to see what dye type works best; Procion MX or RIT.

Do you have a dye story success or misadventure? Please share it in the comments below. I’d love to read about it. If you found this article useful, feel free to share it.

1 comment

  • Oh my god what a great story! Now I’ll always remember…
    Mr. Corn, I expect you to dye!


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published