Dyeing Wool with Rit Dyes

When the Michaels store opened in Kalispell, they had a grand opening give away. You spun a wheel and chose a prize. They didn’t have very many prizes left when I got there but they had liquid Rit dye. I decided I would choose that for my prize, one for me and one for my husband!

Rit Liquid Dye

Then it sat at home for nearly 6 months. I needed to dye some wool and Ann’s recent post reminded me that I needed some brighter colors. So I thought I would experiment with the Rit Dye and see how it worked on wool.

Roving Into the Pot

I got out my dye pot, filled it up to 2/3 with water, added the full bottle of fuchsia colored Rit dye and a couple of glugs of vinegar. I heated the dye up to steaming and then added some mixed 56’s wool roving.

Roving Ready to Steam

Here it is ready to steam. I put the lid on and had the stove on low heat. I left it that way for 30 minutes.

Red Nearly Exhausted

The dye exhausted pretty well. Better than I expected actually. And the color was a nice red.

Red Before Rinsing

Here’s the wool before I rinsed it.

Blue to Blue Green

Then I did the same with the turquoise Rit dye. You can see the original color on the paper towel. I already had a bunch of blues so I decided to go for a blue-green. So I added a little bit of yellow acid dye. Not much but I didn’t measure.

Dark Green

And here is the pot ready to heat.

Green Didn't Exhaust

This one did not exhaust as well.

Green Before Rinsing

And this is green, not blue-green. I guess I added a bit too much yellow. But I think part of it was the wool took up the yellow dye better than the blue.

Blue Green Merino Fleece

I then had a small amount of merino fleece left which I threw in the pot. Now that’s a better blue-green. Once I rinsed all the wool, the Rit dye held well. And the colors stayed nice and bright.

Yellow Dye Pot I did a few more pots of dye with acid dyes.

Bright Spring Colors

And here is the result. Lots of bright colors for my stash and to make more cat toys.

Up Close

So if you want to try the liquid Rit dyes with wool, they will work fine. Just add in the vinegar and you can get some great colors. It’s not the dye I use all the time but hey, it was free.

Posted in Dyeing | Tagged | 31 Comments

Making a Gift for a New Grandma

As you may be aware my daughter in law Mari  is due to have a baby girl any day.  While we wait for the “phone call,” I decided to make her mother a small cosmetic case/clutch.  This is her first grandchild and she has traveled from Japan to be with her daughter and my son for the big event.

I made a template allowing for a 30% shrinkage rate.  I had planned to use some prefelt and merino, but I realized I was almost out of black merino.  So, I substituted some black Corriedale for a middle layer.  The bottom half of the resist was 9″ x 11″ (23 cm x 28 cm).

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The inside layer was a turquoise merino.

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The second layer was the Corriedale batt and the last layer was a black prefelt.  Then I laid out the embellishments.  As usual, I was so engrossed in the process I forgot to take pictures.  The embellishments were 100% Peruvian thick and thin hand dyed wool yarn, a turquoise and metallic silver mohair yarn, silk hankies and green and turquoise throwsters waste.  The template for the flap was not used as a resist, but as a pattern for the shape and size of the flap.

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Once I was finished felting and fulling, I shaped the bottom and sides using an ice cream scoop. The shrinkage was less than I expected.  But it was well fulled so I was satisfied. The finished size was 8″ x 7″ high (20 cm x 18 cm)

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I used the yarn to put on her initials — ST on the flap and embellished it with a silver button and will either use a velcro or magnetic closure.

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I was pleased with the outcome.  It is sturdy, yet not heavy or bulky.

Posted in Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

More New Wool

I got some wool tops listed as ‘Arctic Fox’, no other info about what the wool breed might be, just that it is 25 micron. It feels really soft, a lot like Bluefaced Leicester, and it felted really nicely too:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThough it’s soft and felts like a fine wool, it does have some wiry bits:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI tried a variety of fibres it, along the top is Soy top, below that is black Bamboo top (L) and Milk Protein (R), then some Hemp fibre, and at the bottom is Viscose top:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInterestingly it made the soy look like hemp or flax, which it only usually does with a coarser or curlier wool:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a closer picture of the Bamboo and Milk:


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother wool I tried was Skudden or Skudde. I couldn’t find any info on it in English, but there’s a Facebook group with cute lambs: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Skudden It isn’t in the Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, but apparently it is in the Northern European short-tailed family. I used this straight off the batt without carding it first, so it’s a bit uneven:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt felted immediately, it was like it was felted as soon as it was all wet and soapy. It is weirdly hairy though. I was using new netting and thought frayed fibres had come off and got all over the felt. This photo is actually in focus, but the hairiness makes it look like it isn’t. I used black nylon tops, which are actually very black:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a close up of the hairy corner:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAClose up of the left side:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFurther up, it looks like diagrams of cell walls:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s different to any other wool  I have, it’s unusual, but I like it.

Posted in natural wools, Other Fibers, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Doing some Dyeing

I realised I was running out of brighter colours.  I got the dye pot out from under the snow drift it had become to fix the problem. . I like to dye outside but it much to cold so It was in the kitchen. I was nice and used citric acid instead of vinegar in my dye water. I am not a pro at this. I do not measure as I don’t care if I can get the exact colour again. I like that my dye jobs are many times not an eve solid colour. I will recard it and it will have more life and not be so flat.

I started with yellow. I wanted a nice bright sunny yellow. It bled a lot when it was done.

yellow bleeding

After many rinses it was still bleeding. So I recooked it with more acid, that worked.

Here is some purple in the pot and you can see the dye take up was good.


and this is all the wool done, some nice bright spring colours.

dyed wool

I have finally taken my own advice and got some PH strips. I always tell people having trouble with dye take up or bleeding to make sure the PH is right. Now I just need to find some tome to do some more dyeing so I can try them out.

Posted in Dyeing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Taking a Few Days Off

I don’t usually write posts that aren’t fiber related here. But I had company all week and mostly we skied all week long. I took a couple of days off and we had a blast.

Howie and DennisHere is Howie and Dennis (my husband). Howie is in orange.

Janine and Ruth

And this is Janine and I. I’m in black.

Howie and Janine Skiing

I was wearing a small camera on my chest and it takes really wide-angle shots. So everything looks a bit curved. Howie and Janine are starting down the hill.

On the lift

And here we are getting on the lift. I forgot to turn the camera off but I really liked this shot.

Going Down the Front SideAnd here’s the crew in front of me starting down the front side of the mountain.

The Four Friends

Here we are at the end of the day in front of the Big Mountain Club. We had a blast. I also filmed a short video with the camera which you can see I’m wearing in the photo above. Hope you enjoy it but if you get motion sickness you might not want to watch it.

Posted in Inspiration | Tagged | 16 Comments

Learning to Use a Drum Carder to Make Batts

Our guest artist today is Cathy Wycliff aka Luvswool.

After several months of taking a hiatus from felting–due to a work project and family health issues–I was starving to get back into it.

Fortunately, Marilyn suggested a lesson in carding batts. I don’t own a carder and my experience with blending fibers has been minimal, that is, using my dog brushes to blend a few bits of wool roving. Last Friday, Marilyn came over with two carders: a Louet Junior with a very coarse cloth (40 tpi?), and a standard Brother with fine (120 tpi) cloth.

I felt more comfortable beginning with the Louet, and grabbed some neutrals to begin the carding process. I used these fibers with no particular plan for my first batt: Mystery fiber chunks and fibers, possibly some Finn hand-spun; hand-dyed vintage yarn (early 80s); small amount of Domestic 56s and Navajo churro–all in various neutral shades, mostly gray.








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Then it was time to move on to the Brother for some finer carding. This time I went for color: Indigo-dyed Domestic 56s, dark blue Merino, hand-dyed mulberry silk, white Tencel, green mystery fiber, possibly Corriedale. The machine was a bit more sensitive, and so the fibers needed to be fed more carefully onto the drum.

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I tried the Brother once again, using slightly different fibers and colors: Hand-dyed Indigo Domestic 56s, dark blue Merino, white Tencel, unknown white fiber (possibly cotton), and Milk protein. Marilyn suggested we make two passes through with the fibers.

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Some things that surprised me about the carding experience: it took a lot of time and was more difficult than I imagined; the fibers don’t necessarily cooperate, in that bits get caught on the smaller drum; and finally, it’s probably a good idea to have a plan of what you want to make with the batts before you begin. This was an experience I really enjoyed and I have made a couple more batts with the Louet coarse carder, which Marilyn generously has loaned me. The neutrals below were passed through three times.

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More mystery fibers in green and yellow.


Thanks Cathy for sharing your first experience with carding batts.  Do you still have carder envy?  Personally, I am happy to have the carders.  They have come in handy more than once.  I love making batts just for fun.  I don’t always have a use for them and often give them away.  Its always a creative learning experience!





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Fox Sheep Wool

I ordered a lot of ‘new to me’ wool from wollknoll recently. I still haven’t had chance to open all the bags and look at them, but I did get a chance to look at a few the other day and make some batts. One of them was listed as ‘Fox Sheep wool‘. I’m guessing it is ‘Coburg Fox Sheep‘. I ordered this as ‘fleece’, which comes as pieces of a carded batt. This what mine looked like:


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd this is what it looked like after I made a batt:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI made a sample about 10 x 10″ and added some black viscope tops:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn the top half I added fluffed/mussed up viscose in various thicknesses and also laid it criss-cross in a couple of places:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn the bottom half, I fanned out the viscose tops:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a close up of the middle on the bottom:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd this is the middle of the top:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhenever I’ve used black viscose it reminds me of ‘bubble painting’ – mixing washing up liquid with kids’ ready mix paint and bubbling it up with straws- but these middle parts remind me of seaweed :) This is a close up of a part where I lay the viscose criss cross:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is what the whole piece looks like on the back:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI suppose a good description of it would be spongey, but it really looks ‘frothy’ to me!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe staple length was really short and being so springy, it wasn’t easy to get a nice even felt with just a couple of layers as you can see when I hold it up to the window:


Posted in Other Fibers | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments