Dyeing wool yarn with Procion dyes?
  • I experimented with dyeing a few strands of wool yarn with procion dye (I know that I'm supposed to use acid dyes, but I don't want to cook dye in my kitchen). Some of the wool yarns I tried took the color, but one seemed to disintegrate (after 24 hrs. in the dye). What happened? Do procion dyes weaken the wool fibers? What about blended fibers such as wool/silk?

    Thank you! :)
  • Procion dyes do not harm wool, but the soda ash used in dyeing cotton or silk can damage wool very badly. To dye wool with Procion dyes, you must treat them as acid dyes, using an acid dyeing recipe.

    When used with an acid, such as vinegar or citric acid, Procion dyes actually function as acid dyes, not reactive dyes. See "Fiber reactive dyes on protein fibers".

  • so could I use the acid dyes I have on cotton if I mordanted the fiber with the soda ash? I'd love to only have one set of dyes, but I've developed a passion for spinning cotton, and would love to dye it to colors I find appealing.
  • No. If the label says acid dye, you can't use it to dye cotton successfully, regardless of what chemicals you use with it. Some acid dyes will stain cotton, but none are satisfactory on it.

    You can use a fiber reactive dye such as Procion MX dye as an acid dye, but the reverse is not true. If you want to use just one type of dye for all of your different natural fibers, buy fiber reactive dye and use a different recipe for protein fibers than for cellulose.