Yarn Dyeing May 1, 2006
How we figured this out
Instead of dyeing easter eggs for easter, we wanted to try and dye some yarn with egg dye. We briefly consulted some online references (see right) to get an idea of what to do. A summary of what we learned is the following:
- 100% wool will hold the most color
- Wool needs slightly acidic conditions to dye the best (add a little vinegar)
- the yarn should be able to take up all of the dye on solution – the liquid should become clear when dyeing is complete
- Do not temperature shock the yarn – this will cause felting
- Some heating may be required to properly set the dye
A fear of accidental felting (and making a total mess in the kitchen) made us decide to not to use a stovetop method, where the yarn is heated in a solution with the dye. Instead, we chose the sit and wait option where we just let the yarn sit in the dye for several hours.
We quickly decided that using only Paas egg dye was not going to be exciting enough, and we should simultaneously dye some wool in Kool-Aid. We decided to try to dye Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Wool bulky (4 oz) in white frost, Creme, and oatmeal. The oatmeal had a bit of color to it, and dyeing yarn that already has some color is referred to as “overdyeing.” We took the yarn out of the skiens and wound it in large loops secured with little pieces of yarn. Then we put it in a cold water bath to get wet while we prepared the dyes.
we decided to attempt the “Dip-Dye” method. This involves placing different parts of the loop of yarn in different dyes. we used mason jars to hold our dyes. We prepared the Paas as directed on the box (which included adding vinegar, so the solution would already be acidic), and then added some extra water so that enough of the yarn woud be submerged in the dye. While preparing the dyes, we kept in mind a little tidbit of wisdom that we read on one of the webpages: adding more water to the dye solution won’t affect the color – it is the amount of dye to the amount of wool that really matters. Using ~1 packet of Kool-Aid per ounce of yarn we mixed up the Kool-Aid in some water and added a splash of vinegar. It is suggested that the Kool-Aid is already fairly acidic (it contains citric acid and ascorbic acid) but we added a little vinegar just to make sure.
let the dyeing begin
After the wool was wet, we gently squeezed out some of the excess water, and put the yarn in the dye
White Frost in Green Paas and 2 parts kiwi strawberry, 1 part orange kool-aid
Oatmeal in Paas Red and Orange
Creme in very berry cherry Kool-Aid
We left the yarn in the solutions as long as we could stand it (which wasn’t until the solution was clear – we are too impatient). At that point we decided we might need to heat-set the dye. we used a couple of methods. I just removed mine from the dyes and did not squeeze out any of the excess liquid and stuck it in the microwave for a couple of minutes.
Gen left hers in the dye and stuck all of it in the microwave.
This definitely worked – her solutions were almost clear after letting them sit for a few minutes.
Remember – Do not rinse the warm, microwaved yarn with cold water – this could cause felting or shrinkage of the yarn.