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Topic: When to dye and with what: a felting project  (Read 1012 times)
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jexxican
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« on: December 31, 2011 06:43:26 PM »

I don't know if this would go in this forum or the felting forum but since the 2 questions I have are actually about the dyeing part of a felted process I guess I will post here?

I got this grand idea a little bit ago, I don't think it was over a month ago but who knows with my brain, I mean I am pregnant, and I really want to do it and it won't leave me until I get it out of my head so I should get it done soon, right? I mean if I wait too long then it will leave me and I will have this *guilt* that these (hopefully) awesome creations never came about just because I was lazy... I blather... let's move on...

I don't want to go into specs because I want it to be a surprise and if I don't end up pulling it off then I don't want to get anyone's hopes up. Basically my project involves the Wet Felting a Vessel tute, cutting and needle felting different "vessels" together, and then needle felting designs and _____ into the resulting "vessels" creating _________ _____. I just got my first needle felting kit in the mail today so I have no reason to NOT do it except I need advice. I have a bunch of Sheep Shed white roving that I am planning on using for vessels but I don't want them to be white so 2 things:
1) Should I dye before or after felting? I'm thinking before since when I needle felt the 2 pieces together the unfelted wool I use to needle felt might shrink when I dye it. Am I right?
2) I have a book on dyeing and I've done a little already but only with Kool-aid and Easter Egg dyes and I know these are not colorfast, especially in light, and I really want my FOs to be light-fast. I mean it is just the base and I will be needling designs on it but I still want it to be fast. I do have some acid dyed but I am not comfortable using those with my kids yet. Would RIT dye be colorfast? Is there another dye I should be aware of that is kid-safe and colorfast?
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Belladune
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« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2012 11:54:06 AM »

1) It really depends on the look you are going for.Do the 'vessels' need to be exactly the same color, as if they do, I'd go with dye more then you think you'll need or dye after you felt.  If you dye after you felt, you could be more incontrol of color variations *if* you want them.
2)I don't know if RIT dye is colorfast, BUT  The only part of acid dyeing you really have to be concerned about (and you should be concerned about with ANY powder you would be using to dye)  is when it's dry. Wear a mask.  Especially because you are prego.  Once it is mixed it's pretty safe - and I mean don't drink it or anything, but if the kids get it on thier hands they aren't going to get sick or something.   I mix my acid dyes in the basement (while wearing gloves and an apron and a mask), bring them up in sealed jars and go from there. 

I hope you are successful.  I have an idea I kind of want to complete by the 15th that may or may not be similar... lol
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jexxican
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« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2012 12:05:32 PM »

Thanks!
One more thing, though:
Same subject but more of a felting question than dyeing: I CAN needle felt 2 wet felted pieces together, right?
I want to start this so badly but I won't let myself until I finish a hoop... which every time I pick it up I get anxiety... but... but... but... *sniffle sniffle sniffle*
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"The perplexity of life arises from there being too many interesting things in it for us to be interested properly in any of them."
- G. K. Chesterton

A clean house is a sign of a wasted life.

It's much more fun, this growing down. -RIP Uncle Shelby-
Belladune
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« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2012 12:49:35 PM »

Yes, you can neddlefelt two vessels together
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AlpacaNanny
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2012 06:07:18 AM »

I would not recommend using Ritt dyes on protein fibers.  I have found that it is hard to gauge how much to use and that the dye bath does not exhaust and you need to rinse, rinse, rinse, which causes raw fiber to felt.  Also, it seems to change the texture of the fiber (i have only used it on alpaca fiber - not on wool).

I highly recommend using an acid dye specifically for protein fibers.  I prefer Jacquard, but have also used Dharma brand and Cushing with satisfactory results.

As one other reply suggested, it depends on the look you are going for, whether you dye before or after felting.  The dyeing process itself will not shrink your felt, but agitation will.  The majority of the time, I dye fiber, then felt.  If you want some (or all) of your pieces to be the exact color, be certain to dye enough of the fiber. 

Many times, I add to a wet felted piece by needle felting.  Needle felting is very forgiving, since you can tear off what you don't like!!! 

One more thought, when doing a project, I generally weigh my fiber first, for instance one small vessel (4" tall 5" diameter) takes about 2 ounces of fiber.

Hope this helps!!

Louise
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