Dying to Dye

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Dying to Dye

I was in the mood for a new challenge, something fun, and I had been meaning to try yarn dyeing for some time. I was inspired by some videos by Spellbound Weaving and Dyeing on YouTube – she’s Australian, and even though she’s only published a small number of videos I felt like she’d provided enough information to get me started.

I did a bit of research on dyes and bare yarn, but for my first dip into dyeing (ha) I drove into town and bought a starter pack of Procion MX dye from Opus (turquoise, pink, yellow and black plus a packet of soda ash), some white cotton yarn from my LYS, and some measuring spoons and cups, squirty bottles, a plastic bowl and foam paintbrushes from the dollar store.

Impatient to start, I set up an old folding table next to my laundry tub, with a plastic tablecloth draped over it, and a mask and gloves handy (ha again). It was 9pm by the time I got started on the actual process. Washed the yarn using some dish soap (the handwashing kind, not dishwasher detergent), soaked it in the soda ash solution, squeezed it out, laid it on plastic wrap on my table. Mixed up some dye powder with water in the squeezy bottles and dove in.

I guess a newbie always goes all out! With hindsight, I probably should have just used two colours – maybe turquoise and yellow (because I love the way they made green where they overlapped) however I used the three brights in wide stripes on the yarn and then dripped the black in places with the baster.

I wrapped the yarn up in the plastic wrap and left it overnight – about 12 hours. Then there was LOTS of rinsing and another wash before hanging it out to dry. There was some colour transfer onto my airing rack which means I was slapdash about the rinsing (why am I not surprised?!) but I will just have to remember to expect some colour bleeding when I wash whatever I make with it.

It looks like I made circus yarn, AKA clown barf, AKA rainbow yarn, but it looks really pretty in the cake!

I have 400 grams of this bulky rainbow yarn now, so the question is….what shall I make with it?!

10 responses »

  1. You got some lovely colors here. The thing about dyes is that the material needs to take up all of the dye, so if you were rinsing and dye came out, that means you used too much dye. I haven’t used my procion dyes yet as I need to purchase separate equipment for that, so I started with food coloring to dye my wool. Dyeing is fun. I don’t know what to suggest to make as I don’t know how much you have.

  2. Wow, looks like fun and what fab results. I really am impressed, especially as if I had attempted this I would probably have dyed the whole house! And how exciting planning a new project to use your lively new yarn ❀

  3. Colors are certainly bright. You are courageous. Leg warmers? stockings? lower part of a plain sweater? You will find the right project.

  4. I think that, when dyeing cotton, one does get a lot of dye coming out in the rinse water. The video channel I linked to showed the same thing happening. It’s different with wool and acid dyes – they do take up all the dye in the dye bath. Different method. Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

  5. Ha, I didn’t make any messes and even if I had it was only my utility room, which doesn’t matter anyway!!

  6. I haven’t dyed cotton yet as I am waiting for the charity shops to open so I can buy separate equipment due to the chemicals in the dye. Good to know that about dyeing cotton, so I won’t think I did anything wrong! πŸ™‚

  7. That’s awesome. Love the colorway that you made :)) I also tried once, but with more subtle colors. I gave it to a friend because I did such a small amount that I didn’t know what to do with it. πŸ˜€ She made mittens :))

  8. Thanks for commenting. I somehow missed it when you first posted. Someone suggested pairing this with a solid, and I think that would certainly help to tone it down a bit πŸ˜€

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