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Topic: Dyeing 100% wool yarn  (Read 2190 times)
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« on: April 04, 2012 05:27:25 AM »

Ok this is a basic question and I think I know what I did wrong but I'd like to hear from the experts  Wink

I tried dyeing 100% wool yarn (Lambs Pride brand) with Procion fiber reactive dyes. I was attempting to achieve an ombre effect and set my crocheted pieces (I crocheted forms beforehand) to dye in a low level bath in tubs; the dye was at room temperature. When I went to rinse my forms out the dye washed out almost immediately only leaving behind a light shade of the color I was trying to achieve.

Question: In order to dye wool does it have to be done in a hot temperature heat (i.e. microwave/stovetop), and I know I've read about using vinegar - further instruction on that would be great too.

I'm thinking about dyeing more yarn but I want much better results this time!

« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2012 06:49:44 AM »

Procion Dyes are for cotton (celulose fibers), not wool.  That is why your dye experiment was unsuccessful.

To dye wool (or any protein fiber), you need to use acid dyes.  Food colors work very well for this (or you can buy acid dyes from online stores).  Since food colors are food safe, they are a great place to start, and you don't have to have dedicated utensils and pans that are used for dyeing only.  Any of the little unsweetened Kool-aid packets or the Wilton's food colors (made for coloring frosting) work great!

You do need to apply heat and acid to make the dyed wool washfast, unlike dyeing cotton (which only requires warmish water and soda ash).  A very mild acid, such as vinegar works fine.  If you are using Kool-Aid packets, there is citric acid already in them, and no extra acid is needed.  

Do some googling and you will find tons of info on the process.

Good luck!!
« Last Edit: April 05, 2012 06:55:55 AM by LiveLoveDye » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2012 07:33:08 AM »

Thanks for the info.

I knew Procion was made specifically for cellulose fibers, but my teacher told me it should work for protein fibers as well, though with less predictable results. I'm just wondering if the heat/acid factor was mostly why it didn't work.

« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2012 08:06:36 PM »

Well, you can use procion dyes on silk, but you do have to use acid and heat with it (and the colors shift a little).  I think you might be able to do something similar with wool, using vinegar instead of soda ash.  If it works with silk, then I think it would work with wool, too.
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2012 06:08:16 PM »

sorry you really need to use the acid dyes to dye wool.  Silk is a special creature in that it can be dyed by both the fibre reactive dyes (for plant fibres) and the acid dyes. You can use vinegar or citric acid as the acid, also need a bit of salt to make sure the colours take evenly.  Warm the yarn in the dye bath slowly to just below boiling and keep it there for 30 -45 mins.  If you google it you will find plenty of info and most places that sell the acid dyes do have information sheets, both for safety and how to's. If you want an ombre effect I would recommend hand painting your yarn and then steam setting it
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2012 06:06:57 AM »

What is the project that you want to dye?  You do need acid dyes and heat to dye wool.    I bye my dye supplies from Dharma Trading.  They have a wide selection and EXCELLENT service.  They can answer any dyeing questions.

Here is a link to a photo of a felted hand bag that I made and then steam dyed ombre style.

I laid the bag on plastic and applied the dye using baby bottles.  This is 5 colors (maybe 6 I can't remember).  I then rolled it in the plastic and steamed to set the dye.  To steam I place bricks in the bottom of my pot (stainless steel) add 1/2 inch of water, place my plastic wrapped project on the bricks, cover and steam for 45 minutes.  Allow to cool, unwrap and rinse.

Two things, I soak my project in vinegar and add vinegar to the baby bottles.   Also, I use approximately 1/2 teaspoom of dye to 2 cups of water for the solution.  If you want to do ombre in one color, simply start with the darkest tone, and add more water to the baby bottle as you apply the dye.

Hope this helps!!!!
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« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2012 11:47:50 AM »

I recently dyed wool using oxalic acid as a modrant (produced by cutting up the same weight of rhubarb leaves as the yarn and adding a litre and a half of water then cooking, covered, for 45 mins before straining)

you need to be careful with wool that you don't accidentally felt it, so avoid extreme temperature CHANGES, and too much aggitation.

once my mordant was prepared, I soaked my clean (lanolin free) wool in it, at heat, for another 45 minutes. then it was straight from the oxalic acid into a tumeric solution (75g tumeric powder in 1.5l water, heated to boiling then turned off) I left it in overnight and the result is amazingly bright!!!

I used tumeric and oxalic acid as this was my first dyeing experience using vegetable dyes and they were what I had on hand. I grow my own rhubarb so it was just a short hop into my garden for the mordant ingredients, and I love cooking indian food from scratch so always have tumeric in large quantities!

if using oxalic acid as a mordant, during your preparation make sure your work area is very well ventilated, you're wearing gloves and the pan is covered. not only does it smell quite bad, it's also kinda toxic.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2012 11:48:54 AM by mrsflibble » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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