In The Dye Pot….

Tonight I’m experimenting with this cool method of multicolor yarn dyeing from a little booklet I purchased at Irishbaby Knits. My usual method of painting the yarn requires that I set up my long plank tables outside and paint in very long swaths (I like the yarn to self-stripe, so this approach requires lots of set up) and then have to manage to roll it up and steam it without smushing anything onto anything else and ending up with baby poop brown in my yarn.

This method, which I’ve read through before in some of my books but never tried, involves carefully laying out the hank of yarn in the pot (I did two, in case I was totally in love with the outcome and couldn’t live without enough to make a sweater for one of the kids) and then laying down the color, gently working it in (gently to avoid felting in case you are reading this and getting ideas) and then bringing it to a slow steam until the dye exhausts.  Her directions are very thorough and include several other methods and lots of good advice — they are a very good short cut to dyeing if you want to have the how to without a lot of theory.

Here are some pictures:

Yarn1 This is the yarn in its natural state, all laid out and tied up to go in the pot.

Yarn2This is my favorite helper (important note:  I don’t let him, or any of the other kids into my studio when I’m mixing dyes and I’m always careful to wear a NIOSH mask).  He was busy watching Lord of The Rings with his dad — you know, the third one, where they’re fighting the Nazghoul.  He came into the kitchen hoping to find bad guys to fight with his stick, but there was only yarn.

Yarn3 Here I’m starting to put the dye on.  I started with my trusty squirty dye bottles, but ended up taking the caps off and pouring the dye on, more or less carefully, and smushing a bit with my big stirring spoon.

Yarn4 Here we have a bit more dye.

Yarn5_3 I finished the white bit with another pale lavender shade, and brought it to a pre-boil over 45 minutes.  The dye exhausted before it hit 200` and now the whole lovely, and hopefully not felted, mess will sit overnight on the stovetop so that it can cool properly before i mess with it.  This is a nice method, especially easy for someone new to dyeing — at least I think so without having seen my results.  It was fun, and more intuitive than practiced, like handpainting is.  The color swaths will be too short to get stripes, but I’m hoping for a nice marbled effect when I swatch it.

2 thoughts on “In The Dye Pot….

  1. I hope to see the end results of the yarn. The colors so far look stunning. I have the young 4 year old boy always on the lookout for bad pirates. Luckily my kitchen too has been free of bad pirates for a few years now. I had to smile at your son’s photo though. Very sweet and noble.

  2. Wow that is awesome and something I have yet to try!!! need to get the knitting thing down I think 1st!!!!! and since it seems to be a lot of work would need to actually find a place to be able to do it all!! maybe someday when I “grow up” I can learn to do such fun stuff!!! can’t wait to see the finished results! and glad you were feeling better! and such a handsome assistant you have too!!! he’s adorable!! hugs Dear!!

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