Dyeing experiment/solution with wool yarn

I have oodles of wool yarn that I love felting with, but it is light in color, sort of winter white or very light cream. I dye with RIT, Tintex, couple of Sabraset colours, Kool-Aid, coffee, and have experimented with other staining mediums. I want to share this successful experiment with you:

Rit and Tintex darker colours results lousy. Black turns out more of a sickly purplish-blue, or light grey if you are lucky and don’t have a heavy hand when adding the dye. Someone wanted a dark pair of felted slippers, which got my thinking gears working. I bought a bottle of India ink. I liberally sprinkled the RIT to the water, then added a couple of droppers-full of ink, and added a splash of vinegar to the mix. (Apple cider vinegar actually, as that was all I had on hand.) The result was a dark charcoal grey, which held up fairly well during felting in the washing machine. There was a bit of bleeding, but the end result was basically the same colour as when I removed the slippers from the dye bath. The India ink definitely added darkness to the colour that I would have otherwise achieved with only the dye. Now I am wondering if I could achieve a jet black by using more India ink, or by eliminating the Rit altogether and liberally adding the India ink??? That will have to be an experiment for another day.:happydance:

hi hi

i have no clue how it would be to dye with ink… the only concern i would have would be the longevity of the dye… if it would fade or bleed any more

i def prefer acid dyes like jacquard for wool fibers

i suppose you could give it a go with just ink but i would say it’s easier to use acid dyes once than risk having to re-dye the wool if the ink all washes out

either way… good luck and have fun!

I agree with Foxyie. When trying for a black, go with the acid dyes for wool.

You can get a better result if you first dye the wool a dark, deep blue before dying with the black

Hiya hun,
Just wanted to point something out here about inks in general.
Most inks are what are called pigment emulsions. That is, is the color (black, blue, whatever) is pigment which is ground very fine and then mixed with a vehicle of choice. Pigments are carried alongside the vehicle, they can seperate over time but will never be one with it. Vehicle meaning, water, oil, acrylic binders, etc. Pigments are not particularly known for their staining abilities. Though there are some that do very well, like phthalo blues (that lovely peacock shade of blue)that darn stuff stains EVERYTHING it touches. Then there are the alizarins, they stain a little bit but are bad about the whole lightfastness thing. They fade really bad in the sun. Dye’s are somewhat different as they are designed to stain. They might still be pigment based but the pigments themselves are ground VERY FINE. But most dye is like tea or coffee, where the color itself permeates the vehicle (water, oil, whatever) and they become a new sort of thing. They become ONE with the vehicle.
Synthetic pigments are great at staining. Natural pigments are for the most part not.
On the other hand, natural dyes are great at staining (ever cook some red beets, blueberries or accidentally crushed iris blossoms?)
So in conclusion, if the ink you are using is working and not a lot of discharge after the fact then go for it.
The whole dying something a dark base color before dying it black is a wonderful idea. I use it all the time when I am decorating my cakes. If I were to just use black I would get a dark grey at best and when it fades sometimes it becomes an icky green, or dull reddish brown, but if I basecolor my icing first with blue, or red (depending if I want my black to be warm or cold) then I have better luck with it staying BLACK.
On another note here, I have my best yarn dying results when I use bakery airbrush colors. The pigments are ground VERY VERY fine so that they don’t clog the needle which makes them perfect for using as dye in my yarn. Probably not very practical price wise but hey it works. I just have my yarn soaking in vinegar/water and then squirt the colors right onto the wool, nuke it for about 5 minutes and let it sit til the color is absorbed and the yarn is cooled.
Sorry for the long long answer.

ooh airbrush colors… i hadn’t thought of that one before although i’m sure i heard about it somewhere
and thanks for the info about inks :slight_smile:

The food kind, not to be confused with the kind you use on your car. LOL!!