Sunday, 31 July 2011

Dye Day

Mo and I have been planning to have a dye day for quite a while. We decided to round up some of our bare or natural yarn and roving so we could dye it. It so happens that Marion was in town this weekend and could join us.
I lined all the dyes up on the deck railing.
Here is some superwash merino pencil roving laid out ready to paint. I actually used squirt bottles first and then filled in with the foam brushes.
Marion's trusty camp stove once again was used to boil the water in our dye pot to steam the yarn. The dyes set with acid (vinegar) and heat (steam).
Once we painted our yarn we rolled it in the Saran Wrap longways then rolled it up like a jellyroll and popped it into the ZipLoc bag. We have learned to write our name on the bag, what the fibre is and when we put it in the pot. Then we put the lid on the pot and steam the yarn for an hour.
While the yarn is steaming we are painting the next batch.

Once the yarn is steamed, I used my fireplace tongs to pull each bag out of the pot and put the bags on the ground. I then carefully open the bag and if possible roll it out to cool. The yarn is left for 1/2 hour or so to cool before handling and then rinsed to remove any residual dye. It is surprising how little residual dye there is. Mostly it was the blue dyes that rinsed out the most.
Then we squeezed as much water out of the yarn and hung it up to dry.
Once they were almost dry, we thought it would look very arty to line the hanks up on the fence in rainbow order. Remember ROY G BIV? Mo chanted it a few times for us.
Our roving needed a bit more care so it wouldn't felt - not a lot of handling. Basically we swung the rinsed roving out and swung it around in one of my large lingerie bags (letting centrifugal force work for us like a salad spinner) and then just spread it out on newspaper on the lawn. This is Mo's pencil roving using Spruce. It's the perfect colour for the Peacock Feathers Stole I want to knit. I just need to find 1000m of laceweight to dye with the spruce.
Not everything worked out perfectly. I call this 'Clown Barf'. I may have to overdye it. Yeesh! So much for using Hot Fuschia and Chartreuse.I did, however have success with the pencil roving. I used Sapphire Blue and Sun Yellow. The green is the result of the meeting (bleeding) of the two colours.
And this is some of my handspun that I wanted to experiment with. I used Chestnut, Spruce,
and Russet. It's only about 180 yards of worsted weight so should make a nice neck warmer or pair of hand warmers.
Marion overdyed some medium blue yarn with some Sapphire Blue for a tonal result.
This is KnitPicks bare superwash fingering weight yarn. It's soft and fluffy.
And this is some Misti Alpaca Hand Painted Lace that I overdyed to a desired raspberry colour from a beige-ish blah.
Dyeing yarn is a lot of fun. It takes quite a bit of preparation but the results are sure worth it.
From the left: Geri's tonal purple KnitPicks superwash fingering, Marion's overdyed blue sock yarn, Mo's tonal blue handspun, Mo's teal roving, Marion's 5 hanks from emerald green to yellow, Mo's golden Malabrigo sock yarn and her gold and russet roving, Geri's tonal raspberry Misti Alpaca Hand Dyed overdyed yarn.


  1. Dye day looks like fun!
    I have a box of natural dyes from Blue Castle Fibre Arts plus Ashford dyes. It would be fun to actually use them :-)

  2. Go for it, Jody! Invite me over to help you!