Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mother's Day Crafting: Yarn-dyeing Spectacular

For my birthday my mom (and dad) gave me some un-dyed yarn, with the promise that we'd dye it
together since she has all the supplies. On Mother's Day, after getting a bunch of stuff done around the house and yard, and before I had to come back to school, we did a quick dye job. A nice crafternoon activity.

The yarn came from Knit Picks, from their Bare line - a hank (skein) and a sock blank. The neat thing about the sock blank is that it is one long rectangle all knit up in stockinette stitch, and it is actually two strands of yarn. So, if you actually decide to knit a pair of socks (totally your choice - it's your yarn, after all), they'll look relatively the same in terms of the pattern. This is, of course, if you start both socks with the same end of the yarn. Otherwise you may end up with socks that are opposite. Nothing wrong with that. A lot of things in life are opposite and still work well together (like men and women, for instance).

There are a lot of different processes out there and dyes that can be used, including plant-based natural dyes. The dye my mom had comes in powder form, is mixed with water and a little vinegar to use for the actual dyeing process, which in this case involved squeeze bottles, bowls of dyed water, garbage bags, and a microwave. I'm supposed to caution you against doing this with anything you'd want to eat out of in the future (including the microwave, I think). What with the dye being somewhat toxic and all (not the "greenest" dye process in the world). Your best bet is to find something that works for you and the materials you have access to. And follow the directions.

assortment of dyes, in liquid form
The blanks were soaked in water and vinegar first, which helped them take up the dye more easily. The amount of dye added, and how you apply it, will alter the way the colors align when knit. The process is a bit like taking pictures on a film camera - you aren't quite sure what you're going to get in the end, but it will probably be just fine. After each blank was dyed, it was wrapped up in garbage bags, and nuked in the microwave for a bit. When it had cooled a bit, it was rinsed in running water to get excess dye out, then laid out to dry in the sun. I'm pretty sure it took about an hour tops for the actual dyeing process, not including the drying time while we watched a movie (and then more drying time overnight).
blank and hank, ready for dyeing.
The skein was dyed with a lavender first, by soaking it in a bowl of the dyed water/vinegar, then sections of blue and a deep teal were added using a squeeze bottle and sponge brush. The blue is more subtle than I'd envisioned and the green was a bit darker. Regardless, I like the outcome, and it will be interesting to see it all knit up.


 
 


The sock blank was dyed by squeeze bottle and eye-droppers, with yellow first, then some red, then orange. I meant to have more yellow than the other colors, but it turned out just fine. And as bright as the colors were when I initially applied them, they mellowed out in the end.



 
 



I'm not sure yet what I'll do with each, but will post the finished product. Someday. When I've finished all the other projects I have going.

3 comments:

  1. What gorgeous colors! Reminds me of my tie dye days 35 years ago. Cannot wait to see the finished projects...whenever!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Careyleah! It might be a while until projects have been completed, but I'm excited to see how they knit up.

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