I've spent the last week and a half dyeing all the yarn!
I'm learning lots of stuff. It has definitely been a fun/messy experience. After hank #2 I realized I needed to move my dye situation outdoors because I was going to have a rainbow kitchen if I kept it up. I set up a little Crock Pot and table outdoors so I can dye my yarns without painting my kitchen! So far so good!
"In the case of acid dyeing, a low pH helps to form the hydrogen bonds that attach acid dyes to protein fibers, such as silk and wool, as well as nylon."-Paula Birch. I'm experimenting with using Vinegar or Citric Acid to lower the PH balance of my water for dyeing. So far I'm on team Vinegar, but I'm not done experimenting!
On to the the yarns;
For my first hank I used Wool of the Andes Sport Bare yarn from KnitPicks (100% wool.) I started out with a hand painting technique. I soaked my yarn in a vinegar/water mixture for 30 minutes before getting started. I then got out my very brightest colors (so I could see all the mistakes) and got to work. I started by filling up squirt bottles with Red, Orange and Yellow. I squirted/painted half my hank Yellow, then blended the Yellow into Orange dye and finished it off with a good patch of Red on the other end.
He turned out alright for a first try! I did end up getting some unintentional smudges of Orange in my Yellow and my Red turned out a little splotchy but I'm pretty happy with it. I totally don't dig these colors so I don't know what's gonna happen to this guy but I'm learning stuff!
For skein #2 I used Bare Stroll Sock yarn (Wool/Nylon) from KnitPicks and an immersion dyeing technique. I used Citric Acid to soak this batch. I mixed a little Turquoise with a bit of Navy and immersed my entire hank in the Crock Pot. I didn't realize that I needed to move my yarn around in the pot while it was dyeing, so all the spots that had ties on them ended up staying white! That would have been great if I was Tye Dyeing but I wasn't!
I moved the ties and dip dyed the hank in a darker Navy blue. It covered up the white patches brilliantly and left the yarn with a fantastic variation of colors.
Unfortunately I didn't use enough Citric Acid so the skein did not rinse true at the end of dyeing. Then it got into a big 'ol tangle because I didn't tie my hank up correctly, so I got to spend an entire evening untangling it while my hands turned blue! Whoops!
I ended up giving it another vinegar soak and another steam session to set the yarn then all was well.
For hank #3 I used Bare Gloss yarn from KnitPicks (Wool/Silk.) I used a hand dyeing technique for this hank too. I started with mixing a Light Pink, Light Purple and Light Turquoise in separate cups. I laid the yarn out then splashed and squished the dye into random areas of the yarn. Then, chaos struck! I opened the purple dye pot to add more color to my dye and purple powder flew everywhere! (Don't worry, I had my mask and gloves on) but my yarn was covered! My only recourse was to sprinkle more purple dye powder over the yarn to even out the damage. But then my yarn was drenched in dark purple, purple everywhere! I wrapped it up quickly and steamed it before it could get completely immersed and hoped for the best.
Luckily, it turned out alright!
Plus I got to see a really cool process called "color breaking."
If you know anything about the color wheel you know that Secondary Colors (Purple/Green/Orange) are made up of Primary Colors (Red/Blue/Yellow.) When you dye with vibrant Secondary Colors, especially a powder or food dye, you can sometimes get them to break down to their pure components; in my case Blue and Red. You can see here that the Purple powder dye broke down in places to show Blue and Red. How cool is that!?
I am happy with how this skein turned out. It's most likely sloppier than anything I will make in the future but it looks like this will be the first finished skein of yarn for sale in my Etsy shop! I still need to design some labels before I can list him but that shouldn't take much time since I've already got my sweet logo to use.
I'm definitely enjoying the messy, unpredictable world of yarn dyeing and I've already ordered more naked yarn to play with. I haven't yet decided if this is the direction I want my Etsy shop to head in but I'm having fun for the time being.
What do y'all think of my latest dyes? Which technique is your favorite!?
Thanks for reading all about my trial and error yarn dyeing fun!
AFA was launched in 2015 as a craft and lifestyle blog. It has since morphed into a full time knitting blog! Here you'll find pattern and yarn reviews as well as a smattering of recipes and original patterns.