Thursday, November 05, 2009

Dyeing Wool Yarn in 30 Minutes or Less
Dyes: Jacquard Acid Dyes, Easter Egg Dye Tablets, Kool-Aid or Food Coloring,
White household vinegar
Yarn: Wool or other protein fibers (including a nylon mix) I used Sheila's Sock Yarn from here.
Equipment: Microwave, plastic spoons, rubber gloves, trash bag, dye containers, microwaveable container to hold yarn, plastic dishpan, paper towels, old bath towel.

Pre-soak yarn in vinegar/water solution. 1 cup vinegar, 3 cups lukewarm water, in dishpan.
Cut a trash bag open and place it lengthwise on work surface.
Mix dyes with water. Powdered dyes are very intense, so begin with 1/4 cup water and just a speck of dye powder. Test color by dipping a paper towel in mixture.
Retrieve yarn from vinegar mix and squeeze out excess moisture, then wrap it in a towel and squeeze again. Yarn should be thoroughly damp. Place yarn on plastic trash bag.

Apply dyes with plastic spoon and press liquid through yarn. Some dyes are faster acting than others and will instantly dye, while others will be more moveable/blendable on the yarn. The picture above shows how the red in the orange mix instantly took, while the yellow in the orange mix seeped out.
Continue to apply dyes, and then roll the yarn over to make certain that all parts are dyed.
Hint: use the plastic bag as a lift to roll the dyed yarn to the reverse side.

When application is finished, use paper towels to blot up excess dye liquid. Fold ends of trash bag over the yarn...

...and make a package with the bag around the yarn.

Place yarn package in microwaveable container. I used a cake carrier lid from last Christmas. A turntable microwave is preferred.

Microwave yarn on high heat for one minute. Let rest for one minute. Repeat three times.

This is a good time to do two-minute chores around the house.

Make the bed. Empty the dryer. Toss out last week's leftovers. Scour your kitchen sink, etc.

CAREFULLY remove very hot yarn from microwave and place it in clean sink. Unwrap CAREFULLY.

You will note that the excess water is totally clear and all the dyes are in the yarn. Amazing.
Let yarn cool down before rinsing to avoid felting. I am using superwash yarn which does not felt. I have learned my lesson.

Add water to sink which is the same temp as the warm yarn and allow it to soak. Notice there is no dye run off. Some dyes are going to bleed, but rinsing and washing will remove that excess dye. Add shampoo to water and swish. This will remove the vinegar smell and add suppleness to the yarn. If you like, add a little hair conditioner for a really soft and smooth feel, or save that for the finished product, after knitting or crocheting.

Speaking of finished products... Here is the finished skein.

Made into a yarn cake.

And used in conjunction with some other dull brownish sock yarn, for the start of my new fave accessory, the Baktus Scarf.

Questions? Email Me