Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Nuclear Yarn Dyeing

So here's some documentary evidence that my yarn habit may be getting out of hand- dyeing my own yarn.

I've been wanting to try dyeing my own yarn for ages now and so I finally bit the bullet using the 'Kool-Aid' method.
First you pre soak the yarn in water with a drop of washing up liquid for at least 30 minutes. I used 4ply Blue-Faced Leicester Superwash yarn from D&T Crafts, which is where I aslo bought the Kool-Aid from. The green yarn is where I've tied the yarn off in more regular intervals as I'm pretty bad with getting yarn tangled when it's in one big loop.

After soaking, squeeze out the excess water, put the yarn into a large saucepan and mix your dyes. I used 2 packets of soarin' strawberry (vibrant pink) 2 packets of lemon-lime (vibrant green) and 1 packet of mango (orangey-yellow). I put about 100mls of water for every packet and mixed up the colours separately, as I wanted them bright, pouring them onto the wool from the measuring jug and then added a bit more clear water to cover the yarn.

Yarn stew! The water looks a bit murky but it will go clear in the cooking process (just don't prod it too much or panic like I did and lift the whole lot out of the water and make a bit of a mess of it!). I think I'd buy another couple of sachets of Kool-Aid next time as not all the yarn was well covered, although this does make for some nice variation.
Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, check frequently to avoid boiling - I did this on the wok burner
on our hob to start but ended up having to move it because it wouldn't stop boiling- but I was lucky in not getting felted wool. Also you may have to add more water if it evaporates. You know it's done when after 20-30 minutes the water is clear (pretty much like it came from the tap!) and then leave it to cool in it's pan until you can handle it.

Rinse the yarn through in the same sort of temperature as the water you took it from to make sure there's no excess colour and then squeeze out the water- don't twist or ring as this will stretch the yarn.
Hang to dry- I used a clothes drying rack in the greenhouse as it's been cold but sunny so the greenhouse traps the heat, but it still took a day and a half or thereabouts- in the summer it might be quicker.


One custom dyed ball of yarn it looks pretty different from when it's in a skein- I can't wait to do it again! I think this'll end up as a pair of socks for my brother.

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