Last month yarn adventure “New to the New Year” got me thinking! I love the look and feel of the hand dyed merino so much so I wanted to try it myself. How hard could it be!
Well let me tell you all about it. I have never done anything like it before, never even tied dyed a t-shirt .. I knew I would need yarn and dye but that was about it. I had no clue as to the process, what type of dye to use or what yarn was better suited for a home project.
So I went straight to the source.. to my dear friend Sheena from The Mermaid Purse. She has been hand dying yarn for a while now so who better to ask.
As a newbie she recommended I not go with the professional dyes (these can be pricey), she also recommend I try Kool aid or food dye! What… yes.. she knows best. She also recommended I use a natural animal fiber for reasons I will explain further on down.
So I knew what I needed.. well sort off.. so what does one do when they are not sure! Google! 🙂 So off I went down that rabbit hole. I must have watched hours upon hours of youtube videos… some were quite questionable.. down to the one where a Mommy had to stop filming because her baba pee’d on the floor.. Hilarious!
Anyway back to the adventure. I came across a wonderful video that explained everything perfectly Loco Hue. She explained the process clearly and her videos had that professional polish to them that gave me confidence. She used professional dyes and critic acid. But after much research I knew I could use Food coloring to replace the professional dye and Distilled White Vinegar to replace the Critic acid
So now I have my shopping list.
1. Wilton Food Coloring ( I went with the set of 12 as I like to play with color)
2. Latex Gloves (because i’m messing and didn’t want purple umpa lumpa fingers)
3. Distilled White Vinegar
4. Natural Animal Yarn (Wool – Also known as bare yarn, which i found on etsy)
5. Pots and Pans
So I placed the order and sat back….. and waited and waited and waited.. I’m not very good at waiting.. My Food coloring, gloves and Vinegar came.. But no yarn.. so I waited and waited some more…
Dang I wanted to try and hand dye.. Then I had a light bulb moment! Cotton is natural right! Yes! I have cotton I have lots of cotton. Mmmmmmmm
Okay so this is why you should not stray from the plan! I set up my kitchen and got to work. I followed the process to the T! and Ta Dah.. Deflating yeah I know. It was meant to be purples, reds and pink. So what went wrong. So a few things you should know about cotton!
1. IT IS NOT AN ANIMAL FIBER!
2. Apparently to dye cotton you need something called Soda Ash
3. You have to let it soak for hours and hours.
4. Do NOT unravel your yarn.
Luckily enough my ANIMAL FIBER came the very next day, not one to give up I tried again.
So here’s the process.
1. Set a bowl and a pan of water to room temperature. Enough to cover your hank.
2. Add 1 tbsp of vinegar to each cup of water.
3. Untwist your hank (not unravel it) so its keeps its “loop” form
4. Soak your hank in the bowl of water/vinegar mix for at least 20 minutes.
5. Prepare your dyes. I added a small amount of water and a few drops of coloring until i got the color depth I wanted.
6. Turn on heat under pan and add coloring then add (pre-soaked hank)
7. Bring up to a simmer and turn heat off.
8. Let hank soak until the temperature returns to room temperature. You will notice teh water will turn clear again.
9. Remove hank and gentle wash with some dish soap.
10. Hang to dry.
A few facts to consider
The vinegar is the agent that allow the yarn to absorb the dye.
The heat allow the dye to stain and hold onto the yarn.
Use room temperature water to soak your yarn. Sudden changes in temperatures causes the yarn to felt.
Never boil the water this will felt the yarn
Drip dry your yarn.
Do not stir the yarn while its in the pot. It will felt.
I had tons of fun, there are few methods that I want to try next. Gradients, Speckled and Tonal.
Beth was the lucky winner of the rainbow colors and I cant wait to see what she hooks up, Me.. I’m making a pair of socks with my lot 🙂
If you are interested in a live workshop let me know and we can set a date! In the meantime I’m loving discovering natural animal fibers.. where will my adventures take me next?
Love Pippin xoxox