Monday, December 15, 2014

Learning to Dye

I took a class in dyeing yarn at Purlescence Yarns. Dyes were premixed by the instructor and set out on a plastic table cloth covered table. The dyes were acid dyes from Louet. Unfortunately, I don't know which ones exactly.

Colors we had to work with: Madder orange, logwood, coal, avocado, indigo, raspberry. There was also a yellow, a teal and a red purple, but the names elude me at the moment. The dyes were in quart jars down the center of the table with a baster in each one. There were a collection of measuring cups available. We used 100% wool yarn.

  1. open skein
  2. add extra butterfly ties to the skein
  3. soak in 6% citric acid solution
  4. Lay out a piece of plastic wrap long enough for the skein
  5. Put on rubber gloves.
  6. Pull out skein, squeezing out excess citric acid solution
  7. Lay skein out
  8. Using basters, transfer dye into the a measuring cup. If we wanted to adjust the color we could add water or we could mix two colors together.
  9. Pour color on yarn as desired. work color into yarn with your hands. Check underside of yarn to make sure you are getting good coverage.
  10. Pick another color and repeat the process.
  11. Where the colors meet, work them together to get a slight blending effect, if desired.
  12. When done, sop up the excess dye on the plastic wrap with paper towels.
  13. wrap the yarn tightly in the plastic wrap and put in a gallon ziploc bag.
  14. once home, place the yarn in a container (one that won't be used for food again). Keep it wrapped in the plastic wrap and the ziploc bag. Place in a microwave, ideally one that won't be used for food again. The dyes we used were non-toxic, but it isn't a good idea to do this in a microwave used for food. Run the microwave for 3 minutes full power, rest 1 minute and then run 3 minutes full power. This depends on the microwave being used. You do not want to melt the plastic wrap. We were using 100% wool yarn, so we didn't have to worry about any other fiber content.

For skein 1, I used 3 colors: tealy blue, green and a purple that I mixed (my goal was to get a blue purple. While it is bluer than the provided purple it doesn't look purple in the skein). I alternated the colors around the skein in very short chunks.
For this skein I simulated kettle dyeing. I filled a large measuring cup with the madder orange and some of the raspberry. I put the skein of yarn in the cup and squished the dye through the yarn. I removed the yarn and then layed it out. I then filled in any light spots with the yellow and splattered the brown on the skein.
I didn't have much time for this one, so I did halve of the skein in green and then 1/4" in the blue and 1/4 in the red.

Am I going to continue? Yes. I decided to go with dyes by Dharma Trading Company since they are in San Rafael, CA, about an hour and a half away. I have most of my supplies. Now all I need is time.


Prairie Willow can be found on Ravelry at noliegirl. Prairie Willow is an avid knitter and jewelry designer. My jewelry can be found at Prairie Willow Jewelry;

Photos copyright Prairie Willow Knits. .

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