Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Dyeing notes: Cree capes dyed olive and yellow

A good friend very kindly sent me a batch of capes yesterday - many were cree cock capes. Needless to say, I thought it was Christmas come early. I was over the moon! As most know, this is not a good time for buying capes. This hair extension fad in the US appears to have seriously depleted stocks, particulary saddles. I suspect many tyers have spent many frustrating hours on the web searching for available supplies. I have. Anyway, delighted at my good fortune, I set out to dye some of them dark olive, green olive and yellow.  Here are the results:

Cree dyed dark olive

Cree dyed Yellow

Cree dyed green olive

For each colour, one litre of water brought to near boil (in a saucepan) and reduced to simmer. 1/4 t-spn of Veniards dye with vinegar and left in around ten minutes. Stiring all the time. Prior to the dye bath, I degreased the capes in a basin of water with a small amount (t-spn) of Veniards venepol for several hours. Then rinsed out before placing in the dye bath. Many advise to wash the feathers overnight. It is probably wise, if you can wait. Anyway, I am pleased with the final outcomes. These will tie various Irish wets during the Winter tying period.


  1. That are some good looking capes! I have also turned to dying my own, as it greatly increases my fly tying pleasure (not to mention that giving the surplus materials away makes me popular on the Prague fly tying scene :).
    I use almost the same method as you do - Veniard dyes are great. I found out I like to soak my feather & furs for two days in warm solution of ordinary dish washing liquid. Then about 10 minutes in dye & vinegar, rinse well in cold water and let to dry out.

  2. Thanks Jindra. That's probably a wise strategy about soaking them for two days. I am still learning with dyeing feathers and will try this for the next batch.
    I dyed alot of Mallard flank recently. They did not come out as strong as I expected, probably because they are very oily. So I'll certaintly soak these longer. By the way, I read somehwere that many prefer to use critic acid as a better fixitive instead of vinegar. Also, I might consider placing some synthrapol into the dye bath, which although is a degreaser/detergent, it is also a dye dispersant. It is added to the dye bath before you add the material to ensure the dye gets dispersed over the feathers.

  3. That yellow/green color is exactly the color of a Little Yellow Sally Stonefly here in the U.S. Wish I had one.