Bird In The Hand Primitives

Primitive Folk Art Designs and Finished Items
By: Robin Leuschen

" Who you are is God's gift to you........ What you do, is your gift to God !"

Monday, February 20, 2012

Experimenting Dyeing wool with Rit Dye...

I have been reading alot of blogs and tutorials about dyeing wool with Rit dye instead of the cushing or other dyes used specifically for wool. The lady from the shop where I purchased some hand dyed wool insisted that you can dye wool with just about anything from food coloring and kool aid to onion peels.( yuck, does it stink ??
So here is what I did... First off, I had purchased an old blanket from Salvation Army years ago. It was probably a full size. I had washed and dried it right away, but it was just an ugly pinkish tan color, I never wanted to use it for anything.
I didn't had red or yellow dye , just tan, brown, black, royal blue, orange and hunter green.
I cut the blanket up into smaller manageable pieces, and I also had to other types of a very gaudy red wool I wanted to tone done.
I soaked all my pieces in just a squirt of cascade rinse for dishwashers. This, I've read does something to the wool to make it more porous to accept the dye...The rit dye isn't acidy ??? like the others like Cushings, so this increases the color absorption. I added about 1/4 cup white vinegar to the color bath, and 1/4 cup vinegar to the rinse water also.
The problem with the old blanket was that it didn't want to accept the dye enough to cover what little color it had, until I added almost too much of each color I was using.The green that I had was hunter green..I had originally intended to add a small amount of that and a bit of tan to make kind of a sage color. Didn't work, I ended up using too much hunter and tan and it ended up almost like a black green....
The two different types of red wool started to bleed alot in the pre-soak, so I added just a hint of orange and a dash of tan and it came out almost a nice deep brick red.

Oh, I found a piece of real light tan and added that to the blue with a touch of tan...That piece came out nice, but I had to add more blue for the blanket piece to dye up and it came out too dark of a blue...

Well..all together, I'd say it was a learning process, and I'm happy with the fact that at least now I have some nice big pieces of wool that are at least some not too bad usable colors....
I will be looking for more wool skirts and jackets from the thrift stores and trying other colors and shades out...I think it was fun !! I have sore arms though from all the wringing out, but I did throw it in the washer for quick spins as I went along,to get the last bit of excess liquid out of the pieces...
Good Night !


Susan At Glen Oaks Primitives said...

It is definitely not as easy as it looks. I haven't tried wool yet, just floss. I think you did a fine job for the first try.

Rugs and Pugs said...

Robin ~
You did a great job! I still have not tried dyeing! I have been saving my onion skins. I've seen some results and it's wonderful!
Happy Tuesday!
Hugs :)

Karen/My Colonial Home said...

Brave lady to dye your wools...I have no desire to do that...I leave it up to the one's I purchase it
Just looks like way too much work but the outcome is beautiful for sure.

primitivebettys said...

Sounds like you have been having fun! I enjoy dying... sometimes. I much more prefer the actual hooking & stitching though. It seems like less work to mw. ;-)

I tried onion skins once & it didn't stink. You should try it too! In fact, I LET the skins build up in my veggie drawer in the fridge just so I can dye with them! ha ha ha

Anna said...

you are so courageous...and walk where no woolie has walked least on this side of the blog! lol

mariebeers said...

I've used Rit dye with great results. I presoak the wool in water before adding to the dye pot with 1/4 cup of vingear. When using white wool (yardage off the bolt) I can only get pastels, but the rich dark colors from beige,grey and light green used wools. I just love the different shades by mixing different dye colors together. What a great surprise it is, if not I just re-dye it again.

Prims By The Water said...

You did a great job..but too muc work for me I'm afrid as I do not have much time with work and our store. Love the colors you created. Keep up the fine work! Take care, Janice

jody said...

robin, congrats your wool looks great! i have been saving onion skins for sooo long and have been wanting to dye. i need to just jump in like you! enjoy your day!

Anonymous said...

You did an awesome job on the dyeing of the wool and I love the results you achieved..I have always wanted to try this for myself..I think I will give it a go now that I really can see how it's done..Thank you for the post..

newburyarts said...

*****rit dye IS NOT MADE FOR WOOL!
therefore it will never set and bleed constantly. everyone has used them before and there are some very nice colors...but the proper dyes should be used for the proper materials. yes, you can dye with anything and NO they do not stink. natural dyes fade faster than a commercial dye, everything should be set with either 5% vinergar or a citric acid of the same strength. natural dyes must be soaked first in order to get
the most amount of strength from them. nut shells can be very strong, so go carefully. when using dyes such as kool-aid, food coloring etc., since they are acid dyes they are great for wool. the color palate can be very bright, but using a glass measuring cup add your initial color and drop by drop into the initial color you can
dull them down. this way you can see the results through the glass and once you have reached the desired color just put into the pot
and add wool.

Danice said...

Robin, the wool looks great! You really achieved some pretty colors. Dyeing is a complicated process, as we all know. Congrats to you :)