Natural Wool Dyeing with Rooibos Tea

I have been needing to dye up some Rooibos Tea Merino wool for a Labrador dog that I am going to knit for someone and I thought I would share the process with you. Dyeing wool is such fun and I enjoy natural dyeing because I am using something from nature and that makes it very special to me. 
So here we go, just grab some wool and tea and we are off…:)
Materials:
Some  Rooibos tea bags, I used about 6
100 grams / 3.5 ounces of wool
Vinegar
First I soaked my wool in some warm water and added a little liquid soap, I left that to soak overnight and then the following day, I squeezed the water out of the wool and placed it in another basin of water and added some vinegar, this helps the colour to stick to the wool. I left the wool in the vinegar water for about an hour.
On the stove, I heated up enough water to cover the wool (once added, not yet) and added the tea bags, brought the water to the boil and let it simmer to release the tea from the bags. Once the water was a lovely rich tea colour and had cooled down quite a lot, I squeezed the water out of the wool in the vinegar solution and added the skeins to the pot. You can remove your tea bags if you wish, but I always leave mine in the dye pot. I slowly heated the dye bath until it was very hot but not boiling and then I turned it down to simmer for about an hour or so. I removed the pot from the stove and allowed it to cool, I usually leave my wool in the dye bath for a few hours and then remove the wool from the pot and place it in a basin of water to rinse out the remaining tea. Keep rinsing the wool until the water runs clear and then hang up to dry.
And there you have it, lovely golden Rooibos tea skeins of wool! Such fun:)

I had a few extra skeins, so I have added them to my shop:) The wool is DK and can be knitted with 4mm / 6 US needles.
Happy dyeing,
xo
Linda

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25 Responses to Natural Wool Dyeing with Rooibos Tea

  1. JenMun(a) October 12, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

    what a beautiful soft color! just would love to have one in my hands;)
    JenMuna

  2. CrochetBlogger October 12, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

    It came out lovely. Thanks for sharing how you dyed it!

  3. Linda October 12, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

    JenMun(a)and CrochetBlogger,
    Thanks so much, the colour is very soft and subtle.

  4. Cat October 12, 2011 at 8:22 pm #

    Love this colour – I tea dye calico when I’m being too cheap to buy linen LOL

  5. Brigi October 12, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    very nice color, thanks for the inspiration :)

  6. Kelly October 13, 2011 at 1:41 am #

    Gorgeous, earthy colour and how I love my rooibos tea. I drink a LOT of it!!

  7. Miyuki October 13, 2011 at 7:23 am #

    How beautiful… What size needles does the yarn require?

  8. Linda October 13, 2011 at 7:40 am #

    Miyuki,
    Thank you:) The wool requires size 4mm / 6 US needles.

  9. Linda October 13, 2011 at 7:43 am #

    Brigi,
    Thank you so much:)

    Kelly,
    Thank you for visiting my dear friend. Rooibos tea is so comforting, I love it too:)
    xo

  10. Corina October 13, 2011 at 7:54 am #

    Thank you for sharing. Maybe I will try it.

  11. pinkundine October 13, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    What a wonderful colour it comes out, I love this :)

  12. Hanneke October 13, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    Still got some yarn left, and rooibos too and, most important: time next week!! Thank you.

  13. shinybees October 13, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    Looking forward to trying this! Thank you for sharing.

  14. Amber October 13, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    You are just too clever for your own good Linda!! XO

  15. Shannon October 13, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    Ooooooooo LOVE the colour! I tea dyed some cotton the other week and it was quite tan; I might try rooibos next!

  16. Lori ann October 13, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

    i really love this linda, the rooibos and the color. now i need to think what project would suit this beautiful wool best…

    i drank rooibos first many years ago my first time to s.a. it was good i brought some home because it wasn’t to be found here. these days, it is everywhere. so happy.
    xxx

  17. WonderWhyGal October 14, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    I adore natural dyes but they still intimidate me. I have a bunch of books but still haven’t used what is natural…I really need to.

    Happy I Love Yarn Day!

  18. Dutch Hollow October 14, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    What a soft and pretty color. Thanks for sharing.

  19. danguolesan October 14, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    Beautyful colour. I dyed wool with black tea (http://poklevais.blogspot.com/search/label/nat%C5%ABral%C5%ABs%20da%C5%BEikliai), but rooibos is better :)

  20. Marushka C. October 14, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    That did produce a lovely color! The photo of it in your garden with the roses is just perfect, too.

    I haven’t tried tea-dyeing and I’m curious how the color holds up over time.

  21. April's Homemaking October 14, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    What a wonderful color from this natural dying process! I will have to remember this tea for dying cloth, I have always wanted to do a tea stained project! ~April

  22. AllyB October 14, 2011 at 7:00 pm #

    Great color! Thanks for sharing and making it seem so simple.

  23. Moogie October 15, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    ooh how lovely!
    It looked like spaghetti in the pot :)
    Have you tried dyeing with walnut husks? We went collecting walnuts on wednesday and our hands are still strained a yellowy-brown colour, kind of like bad fake tan :)

  24. Baa-Me Kniits October 15, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    That is such a nice colour and I love your chair for drying your skeins….perfect! :-)

  25. Het Wolbeest February 6, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    I didn’t know you could dye with Rooibos tea! I love the colours of your skeins! We drink it a lot, but I am defenitely going to have a go at dying with Rooibos tea! Thanks for sharing! Alexandra.

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