Thursday, August 19, 2010

Be Your Own Yarn Dyer!

I'm back from gorgeous Lake Willoughby, Vermont - sigh! I had a lot of time to think about designs and ideas and promotions and giveaways and all that good stuff. I also found time to visit some amazing yarn stores and add to my "little" stash (ha. ha.)

From Knit or Dye in Brattleboro, I bought some Malabrigo lace yarn. I am so all about laceweight yarn these days - it's crazy, considering how absolutely 100% against it I was just a short while ago. Well, what goes around comes around or something like that.

Anyway, this yarn is a true olive green. And while I love olive green in general, I like it on the more acid-y side. A good violent chartreuse makes me shout with joy. So I decided to see if I could get this yarn more chartreuse and decided to dye it. Follow along with me!

Here's the yarn in its original form:


Untwist the skein (but leave the ties on!! You'll never untangle it if you take the ties out!! Don't ask me how I know!) Now give your yarn a little cold water and vinegar bath (about 30 minutes soaking - 4 parts water to 1 part white vinegar. The vinegar is a mordant to help activate and hold the dye):


Take a break with some Cheerios while the yarn soaks:


Then drain the water out, don some gloves and use a strong solution of Wilton Cake Icing Dye in Yellow (strong = about a tablespoon of dye and a teaspoon of water - a little goes a long way) to paint the yarn. I started out painting it, then just dumped the whole glass of dye over the yarn:


After dyeing you wrap your yarn in some plastic wrap:


Curl it up in "cinnamon bun" style:


And then nuke it in the microwave for 2 minutes. Let it cool for at least 10 minutes out of the microwave (it will be hotter than Hades!), rinse gently (especially important for single plies like this yarn), and then hang on your drying rack of choice, in this case, the baseball pitchback in the backyard:


After a couple of hours sunbathing, the finished product was subtly but noticeably yellowy-er:
Before:

After:

Easy-peasy!

For more detailed instructions on using this method to dye yarn (like how to get stripes in dyed sock yarn and the like) go to Kalamazoo Knits etsy site. They are great ladies!!

3 comments:

luciah said...

loved the photo demonstration. and very informative. made me feel that even a dunce like myself could do it!

missingbecheery said...

Interesting method! I have successfully dyed a number of things, but not yarn, using packets of unsweetened koolaid, water, salt and vinegar

diana said...

Lucia - I know for a fact you could do it!

MBC - I tried Kool-Aid dyeing a while back and liked how pretty yarn turned out, but I also like how much deeper the colors are with the Wilton Icing dye.