Category Archives: about dyes

Are Lanasyn dyes the same as Lanaset/Sabraset dyes?

Hi. I have been experimenting with Lanasyn acid dyes from Archroma on wool yarn, but I can’t seem to find much information on them online, and none on your web page either. Is there somewhere I can get information on washfastness, full range of shades, etc.? Are they actually the same as Lanaset/Sabraset, or something else altogether? It seems like some of the colours, like the blues, are the same names, but not the reds. Any information on their properties would be appreciated. Thanks!

Archroma (which used to be Clariant) applies the name Lanasyn to two entirely different ranges of acid dyes. Their Lanasyn M dyes are 1:2 metal complex dyes (aka premetalized dyes), while their Lanasyn F dyes are acid milling dyes.

I don’t believe that there is any overlap between the Lanasyn dyes and the acid milling dyes or metal complex dyes in the Lanaset dye range. The Lanaset dyes are made by a different dye company, Huntsman Textile Effects. I think the only thing that the Lanasyn dyes have in common with the Lanaset dyes is that they are made for use on wool, as the Latin word for wool is Lana.

(Some of the dyes in the Lanaset dye range do contain acid milling dyes, including Lanaset Yellow 4G, Lanaset Yellow 2R, and Lanaset Blue 2R, while some of them contain metal complex dyes, including Lanaset Red 2B, Lanaset Brown B, and Lanaset Grey G. Some appear to contain both acid milling dyes and metal complex dyes mixed together, including Lanaset Bordeaux B, Lanaset Navy R, and Lanaset Black B. Some of the Lanaset dyes are reactive dyes, which cannot be part of either Lanasyn dye line, as are the Lanasol dyes, which also belong to Huntsman.)

In general, the 1:2 metal complex dyes are relatively dull in color, including mostly blacks, greys, navies, and dark reds, while the acid milling dyes are brilliant in color, including brights such as turquoise, violet, and bright yellow.

Archroma claims that washfastness and lightfastness are very high for their Lanasyn M dyes, and that washfastness is good for their Lanasyn F dyes, but lightfastness is not as good. They mention that the Lanasyn F dyes are not so good for color mixing.

I have not been able to find further information on the dyes in the Lanasyn F and Lanasyn M dyes ranges, aside from finding a couple of lists online of the names of the dyes in each range, and tentatively identifying the Colour Index names of a few of them. What you will need to do is contact Archroma and ask them for more information about their dyes, including specific washfastness and lightfastness information.

Some dye retailers supply a range of dyes that includes a few of the Lanasyn dyes, along with other brands of dye that act similarly and can be used with them. Kraftkolour, in Australia, sells a collection of acid milling dyes that includes both Lanasyn F dyes and dyes of the brand names Acidol, Nylosan, and Irganol, describing them as “Acid Milling dyes selected for their similar dyeing properties to the Premetallised dyes”, adding, “This range of bright, strong colours are dyed in a weakly acid dyebath and have good fastness.” Depending on your suppliers, you might also want to look into one of these brands. The Irgalan dyes are 1:2 metal complex dyes which a Dye Forum member in Denmark asked me about almost a decade ago.

Interestingly, there are dyes with the Lanasyn brand name that have also been sold under the Irgalan brand name; for example, Lanasyn Grey BLR is also listed as Irgalan Grel BRL; its Colour Index name is Acid Black 60. Other Lanasyn dyes whose Colour Index names I tentatively identified are these:

Lanasyn Scarlet F-3GL 130 C.I. acid red 111
Lanasyn Red F-5B 150 C.I. acid red 143
Lanasyn Violet F-BL 180 C.I. acid violet 48
Lanasyn Navy M-DNL C.I. acid blue 56
Lanasyn Black M-DL 170 C.I. acid black 194

Acid Black 60 is one of the dyes sold for research purposes by the Sigma Aldrich chemical company, which provides the following nicely symmetrical molecular structure:

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comparison of dye costs

I posted this in the Dye Forum a few years ago. (I’m working now on bringing back a forum on this site.) The numbers will be a little different now, but the overall comparisons will probably be pretty much the same. Please comment if you know of any interesting changes.

I thought it would be interesting to compare the prices for different types and brands of dyes. You cannot simply compare the price per ounce, since some dyes are so much stronger than others. To make a fair comparison, I took the amount of dye recommended, for each dye type, to dye one pound of fabric or yarn to a medium shade, and divided it into the cost of that dye from various sources. For dyes that cost different amounts for the different colors, I averaged together the prices of the three main primary colors. Prices for the same types of dye varied considerably from one distributor to another, especially between different countries.

The table below is sorted by the cost of enough dye to color one pound of fiber/fabric. The cost of Procion MX dyes varies from 40 cents per pound of fiber to $2.47! Direct dye is much cheaper than Procion MX dyes (but does not perform nearly as well). Procion MX dyes are considerably cheaper than other types of fiber reactive dyes, when purchased in jars of at least 2 ounces of dye. Lanaset dye, a high quality wool dye that is rather expensive, is considerably cheaper per pound of wool dyed than all-purpose dye such as Rit. The wide variety of prices for the same dyes in different locations is surprising…

The sources of dyes in the table below are in the US when not otherwise indicated. All prices are given in US dollars. The small quantities of dyes that artists use seem to be much cheaper in the US than in most other countries. In some cases the price differential is so large that it may be cheaper to pay overseas postage from the US rather than buying locally. (I know that Synthesia in the Czech Republic is cheaper than the other European sources I know, but they don’t have price quotes on their web site, and they sell only one-kilo quantities and larger.)

The prices for the natural dyes in the table below are overestimates because I was using the weight recommended for a deep shade, whereas the other dyes are adjusted for the amount required for a medium shade, and the Rit dyes for a “pale to medium” shade.

dye type and source cost to dye one pound
Direct (Dharma Industrial, 1 lb) $0.06
Direct (Prochem Diazol, 2 oz) $0.22
Kiton Acid (ProChem, 2 oz) $0.39
Procion MX (Jacquard, 8 oz) $0.40
Procion MX (ProChem, 8 oz jars) $0.44
Disperse dyes for synthetics (ProChem, 2 oz)              $0.44
Procion MX (Dharma, 8 oz) $0.46
Washfast Acid (ProChem, 60 g jars) $0.55
Procion MX (Dharma, 2 oz) $0.56
Procion MX (Best Dyes, 2 oz) $0.56
Procion MX (ProChem, 2 oz) $0.65
Procion H powder (ProChem, 2 oz) $0.82
Lanaset (ProChem, 2 oz) $0.88
Sabracron F (ProChem, 2 oz) $0.92
Lanaset (Sheep Hollow, 14 g) $0.98
Procion MX (Jacquard, 2/3 oz) $1.29
Lanaset (Telana) (Maiwa, Canada, 30 g) $1.34
Procion MX (Batik Oetoro, Australia) $1.34
Procion MX (G&S Dye, Canada, 25 g) $1.39
Procion MX (Maiwa, Canada, 30 g) $1.40
Jacquard Acid (avg of sun yellow, pink, and royal blue) (Dharma, 8 oz jars) $1.41
Procion MX (Quilt & Textilekunst, Germany) $1.45
Remazol liquid (ProChem) $1.50
Remazol powder (Batik Oetoro, Australia) $1.61
Rit All-purpose liquid ( $1.86
Drimarene K (Batik Oetoro, Australia) $2.04
One Shot Acid (ProChem, 3 oz) $2.15
Rit All-Purpose powder ( $2.29
Procion H liquid (Jacquard via Dharma) $2.35
Procion MX (Fibrecrafts, UK, 50 g) $2.47
Remazol liquid (Jacquard Red Label, 8 oz) $2.79
Disperse dyes for polyester (Aljo, half-ounce) $2.95
Dylon Cold (Procion MX) (Dick Blick, US, 5 g) $4.34
Tulip One-Step Fashion Dye (Procion MX type) (CreateforLess, 6 g) $4.49
DEKA L all-purpose dye (Fibrecrafts, UK, 10 g) $4.90
DEKA L all-purpose dye (Chicago Canvas, 1/3 oz) $4.95
Dylon Permanent (Drimerene K) (, 50 g) $4.98
Jacquard Acid (avg of sun yellow, pink, and royal blue) (Dharma, 0.5 oz jars) $5.27
synthetic dye indigo (ProChem, 2 oz) $7.02
natural dye indigo (Dharma, 2 oz) $8.00
Procion H 5% paint (G&S Dye, Canada) $10.42
natural dye henna (Dharma) $12.00
natural dye alkanet (Dharma) $13.00
natural dye cochineal (Dharma) $13.20
natural dye cutch (Dharma) $14.00
natural dye annatto (Dharma) $17.00
natural dye brazilwood (Dharma) $23.40
natural dye madder (Dharma) $32.00
natural dye osage orange (Dharma) $34.00

(Abbreviations: g = grams; lb = pound or half a kilogram; oz = ounce or 29 grams. Price conversions for Fibrecrafts, Quilt & Textilekunst, Maiwa, G&S Dye, and Batik Oetoro are based on the US dollar’s being equivalent to 0.51 GBP, 0.68 Euros, $1.00 Canadian dollars, and $1.11 Australian dollars. All prices are from 2008.)


color-changing yarn

LAB wrote:
I recently bought some interesting yarn – it’s a radically different color depending on what sort of light it’s exposed to. I’ve seen this sort of yarn a couple of times from different dyers – it’s fascinating. I’d love to know how it’s done. Would you happen to know?

It’s from the Mystical Moose series, on this site:

This is wonderful stuff! It’s like the gemstone alexandrite, which is green in daylight, but changes to red under incandescant light. The way it works is that the coloring in an alexandrite stone absorbs light in the yellow range of the color spectrum–the color spectrum is the range of colors you see in a rainbow–while allowing you to see light in both the green part of the spectrum and the red part of the spectrum. If the original light that is shone on it contains more red light, like incandescent light bulbs or a candle flame, that that is the light that you see, whereas if the original light contains more green and blue light, such as sunlight or a halogen lightbulb, that is the color you see. The color in alexandrite is provided by small amounts of vanadium or chromium in the gemstone.

You can’t get this effect simply by dyeing with two different dyes, each of which reflects light in one of the two colors you want to see, because dyes, like paints, work in a subtractive way. If you apply a red dye to fabric, it works by absorbing the green light, so all you see is red, whereas if you apply a green dye, it works by absorbing the red light, so all you see is green. If you apply two different dyes, a green one which absorbs red light, and a red one which absorbs green light, the two colors are both subtracted from the light you see, which is why dyeing the same piece with both red and green dye results in a dark brown color.

The only way you can produce the different colors under different lighting is to have both extremes of color reflecting from the same dye, and then compare the effects of a warmer light against those of a cooler light. It’s simply a question of choosing a particular dye that absorbs in the correct parts of the color spectrum. There aren’t many dyes in common use that show this effect so strongly, and I’ve never seen them marketed for this property. Often the property of showing markedly different colors under different lights is considered a defect in a dye, because people want their ordinary clothes to be a predictable color. If you put on a red shirt under an incandescent light at home, you’re not expecting it to turn brown under the cooler fluorescent lights at work. When the special color property of the dye is remarked on at the time of sale, however, what is sometimes a defect instead becomes very desirable. It becomes something you can play with.

I have observed this effect in a subtler form myself. I purchased some of a rather expensive Procion MX dye, red MX-G, also known as Colour Index Red 5, from George Weil in the UK. It is much closer to a true red than our usual red mixing primaries, which are red MX-5B (magenta) and red MX-8B (fuchsia), both of which reflect a large amount of blue light as well as red light. I was trying to decide if it was really a true red, or tilted slightly toward the orange or the blue side of red. It was impossible to decide. When I looked at fabric I had dyed with red MX-G, it seemed to be slightly orangish indoors, but slightly blue under the light of the sky. It was only a mild effect, though, not nearly as extreme as in the Mystical Moose series series of yarn. Red MX-G is not a popular Procion dye, by the way, because it is quite expensive, and yet a very similar color can be obtained much more economically by mixing red MX-5B (magenta) with orange MX-2R (strong orange).

Now obviously all colors are somewhat affected by the color of the light you shine upon them. A dye or pigment has its color because it reflects only a limited portion of the visible spectrum of light, but if the light source contains a different balance of colors, the dye or pigment can’t show you any more light than it receives. Mostly our brains somehow manage to correct for the different colors of light, so that we usually notice the changes only in photography. Why haven’t we noticed the difference between the blue/red balance of a pure fuchsia dye under warm lights versus cool lights? It reflects both blue and red light, after all. The difference is there, but it is far less visible than that of the dramatic variations in the Mystical Moose series of dyed yarn.

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