Sunday, September 03, 2006

A Saturday to Dye For

Tzarina and I have been planning this day for weeks, and it was well worth the wait. Our husband's were settled in for a long day at their computers (one working, one playing, either way we didn't care,) and we set up around 11:00 am

Supplies: A cheap shower curtain, undyed wool, cool aid in a multitude of colors, dye bottles, plastic wrap, stock pot, glass casserole dishes, strainer, various large bowls, vinegar, rubber gloves, newspaper, niddy noddy, and of course smoothies.
Step one: (DON'T FORGET) soak the yarn. It needs to soak for about 15-20 min. Princess P. and I forgot that step the first time we did it, it made a huge mess.

Keeping with my yarn as food obsession, doesn't this look like a giant bowl of tasty pasta?

Step Two: PLAY!
We mixed up the cool aid and vinegar in the bottles to see what the colors would look like. We had several small skiens to play with before we jumped in with our project yarn.
We tried several different techniques. We hand painted, which is what Tzarina is doing in this photo. We let the yarn soak in various mason jars which is what I am doing here, and we dyed in large batches in a stock pot. All of them had different effects. The photo's below give you some ideas of how they differed. We also used more than one of the techniques on some of the yarn.

Dyeing in the mason jars gave us very distinct stripes that didn't run into each other at all. We also over dyed some of the yarns this way. The hand painted yarns look, well, hand painted, what else?

Step three: spin and hang to dry. I learned a little trick to speed up the drying process in my spinning class. We threw the yarn in my washing machine, set it to spin, and let the machine spin nearly all of the water out of the yarn. This would work great for sweaters as well, as they seem to take forever and a day to dry here in the PNW.

This was Tzarina's first project batch. This photo doesn't do it justice, it is stunning. She first dyed in blue in the stock pot, then later added purple to the stock pot without stirring it much to give it a subtle variegation. I will try to remember to post "post winding" photos of it, it really is beautiful.

I started out hand painting my first batch of project yarn. When it dried (upper left) I didn't like how the colors look at all, so I resoaked it, threw it in a stock pot and overdyed it deep red with some purple thrown in. The result, well you judge for yourself.

Tzarina's second project batch. A beautiful pale green. It should be called something like Whisper of Spring.

And my second, which Tzarina appropriately named Spiced Pumpkin.

This was such a fun day, and suprisingly less mess than I had anticipated. We have the feeling that it won't be long before we move on to acid dyes. I'll let you know.


  1. This is a fantastic post! I've never tried dyeing, but I want to, and this post just makes me want to even more. I adore your "Spiced Pumpkin" skein - perfect for autumn, which I'm told is coming soon.

  2. Oh boy, now I want some pumpkin pie! :)

    Glad you ID'ed the smoothies. I thought they were the kool-aid at first.

  3. The Spiced Pumpkin is perfect for this time of year - looks good enough to eat and I can almost smell the cinnamon! I gots to get me some rubber gloves and Kool-Aide and jump in the action - looks fun!

  4. I think you took our slc fun dying and improved on it. we'll have to do some more when you are here. they are beautiful....

  5. Reskeining really puts a different spin on dye jobs doesn't it! The mason jar dyeing method is great for keeping colours divided - but I wish there was some way to be able to combine that with the fun and spontaneity of handpainting.

    I love the whisper of spring colour - it is just so sweet and subtle.