Sunday, November 30, 2008

How To Dye Yarn

I recently was at Jo-Ann Fabric Craft Store for their after-thanksgiving sale. They had Paton's Classic Wool yarn on sale for cheap and I thought it would be the perfect yarn to buy to try my hand at dying yarn. I bought 2 skeins of "Classic Ivory" and re-skeined the yarns into 3 foot long skeins (splitting the 100 g skeins into two 50 g skeins). By putting the skeins into thinner, longer skeins the yarn has better opportunity to be fully dyed with no white areas being left undyed.

Following the directions on Knitty Gritty, this is how I dyed my yarn (using Jacquard Acid Dyes):
1. I placed the skeins into a large bowl of hot water to prep the yarn to receive the dye (while it soaked for 20 minutes or so I started preparing the dye).
2. I gathered up my 3 Mason Jars (the containers I was placing the finished dye in), 3 plastic syringes (with NO NEEDLE attached), put a plastic table cloth over my kitchen table, and put down long sheets of plastic wrap.
3. Now it was time to make the dye. I used Colors Vermillion (611), Saphire Blue (622) and Brilliant Blue (623). I scooped 1/4 tsp. of each color into a seperate container. I added 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, and 1 cup of HOT water to each container. The Mason Jars were the perfect size.
4. When the dyes were made and my yarn had soaked and "bloomed" as Knitty Gritty explained, I lightly squeezed the excess water out of the yarn and placed on the plastic wrap on the table. I knew I wanted to make small blocks of color on the yarn so I placed the skeins on the wrap making the skeins as long as possible.
5. Using the syringes, I sucked up the color I wanted and squeezed it on the yarn in the place I wanted it (I purposefully used colors that if overlapped would still make a beautiful color, not brown).6. I continued to add dye to the yarn in blocks to make the effect I was looking for. I did not want any white areas so I overlapped the colors quite a bit (which with red and blue made a beautiful purple). I continued working until the yarn was completely saturated.7. After the yarns are completely saturated, I placed each skein on a piece of plastic wrap and warpped them up like a burrito (again, as described by Knitty Gritty).
8. I placed a large metal pot on the stove and placed a small amount of water in the bottom and placed a glass bowl inside (I don't have a steamer basket). The dye sets by the vinegar and the heat. Knitty Gritty recommends microwaving the burritos but I've heard multiple accounts of that resulting in EXTREME stink! So I opted for the steam method.
9. I simmered the water and placed the yarn packages inside the glass bowl.
10. Place the lid on the metal pot and steam for 45 minutes. After steaming is complete, let the yarn sit until it is cool to the touch and you can handle it. (If you placed hot yarn in cold water to rinse it you would shock the yarn and it would result in felted yarn...)
11. When cool to the touch, I unwrapped the burritos and gently rinsed the yarn in cool (not cold) water until water ran clear (which was instantly). If your yarn loses dye in the rinsing process, it didn't set and needs more steaming. Below is the picture of the yarn when I unwrapped the plastic wrap.
12. I placed the yarn in my empty laundry machine and placed it on spin to get out as much moisture as possible. I then hung the skeins over my laundry sink. Hopefully it will be dry by tomorrow and I will reskein the yarn into balls ready for knitting!!

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