Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Quick Yarn Dyeing Tutorial

My Etsy shop is getting new yarns every day. Today I listed that pretty yellow/Orange variegated I mentioned yesterday. In case you're interested: http://www.etsy.com/shop/woolinthewasher

So how do I do it? Here is a short tut with a few pictures so if you want to try this you can. I use three different types of dye and they all wash and wear the exact same. The food dye doesn't wash out and it just as good as (if not better than) the toxic acid dyes that are twice as expensive and you can't use anything again for food. Keep that in mind. I use the Jacquard Acid dyes (toxic, $3.75 per jar, 40 colors) and the Wilton Icing Gel dyes (non toxic and $1.50 per jar, 24 colors) as well as the McCormick Food coloring drops (non toxic, 6 color with the Neons, $3.50 for the box of dyes).

Another good thing to have is a bunch of those paint cards from Home Depot or Lowes. It's a great thing to have so compare colors and get ideas for colorways.If you aren't comfortable going to the hardware store and taking 50 cards all at once, go a few days in a row and get a few more. I just asked the guy behind the paint counter if I could take a bunch for future reference and he told me to help myself.
So, just ask.I use them every day to make sure my color combinations go together before mixing dye. Then I mix my dye to match the color.

I usually use a natural colored superwash yarn fromKnitpicks.com. It's a great soft yarn, in
expensive at $6.49 per skein, and 100 grams for a pair of socks. I have a bench seat that I wrap the yarn around so it's about 6 yards around. If I need it to be longer I put a
box on the bench and wrap around the bench and box. I have an idea for a new swift and will let you know if it works. The skein in these photos is about 8 yarns around. This is the yarn in hot water with about 1/2 cup of vinegar, soaking for an hour or so. I found that overnight hasn't done anything different than soaking for an hour.

While the yarn soaks, I figure the colors I want and get out the dyes I think will make the colors I need. Here I use a combo of the acid dyes and Wilton dyes. The green is a combo of Kelly and Emerald (acid dyes). The blue is just Sky Blue (acid). The pink is mostly Rose Pink and Orange (Wiltons) and a bit of Hot Fuschia (acid). The Peachy color is a bit Creamy Peach(wiltons) and Salmon (acid). So you can see that the different dyes can be combined to make all the colors you want. *One thing to remember, the Violet Wiltons has a pink undertone that wants to take over. I'd use an acid dye instead of the Wiltons unless you are dip dyeing. After my colors are all mixed the way I like and I've checked them by putting a bit of each on a white napkin, I get my pots ready.
I put about 1.5 cups of hot water in each and then pour my 1 cup of dye in the water and stir. Then I take out my yarn, squeeze it dry and make four loops all about the same size. Each loop will go in a
dye pot. Make sure you put the dye in an order that touching color will make a new good color. Only the green and orange would have made mud and I made sure they didn't touch too much.

I move the yarn around a little make sure all of it gets to the dye and move the section that are high into the dye for a few minutes, then into the other color for a few seconds so I don' t have too much un-dyed yarn. After the dye pots go clear, the yarn has absorbed all the dye it can.
If there is still a lot of dye left in the pot after about an hour, use less dye the next time. I take the yarn out and squeeze it a bit so it doesn't drip. Then it's time for heat. I usually tuck each color into it's own baggie and put the whole thing on a plate in the microwave for 3 mins on, 3 off, 3 on, and let sit for a while. When it's room temp again, I rinse. If there is no dye left in the water and if no dye transfers to my hands (I don't use gloves) then I don't go through the rinsing. If there is a lot of dye left in the pots, I rinse the yarn sections in hot water until it runs clear. I use the washing machine on spin to get most of the water out and hang to dry.

Tomorrow this yarn will be dry and I will cake it and get pics for you. Check back to see how it turns out!

Later! Happy Knitting!

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