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Message Board > Knitting Lounge > dying wool yarn ( Moderated by JEF)

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dying wool yarn
how do you do it?
jewelsfashions

jewelsfashions
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Date: 10/30/13 10:29 AM

I have checked all over the internet for info. I'm finding several different ways to do this. Some say stove top method don't use metal pots but then a you tube video shows metal pots and the yarn turned out. how, if your not to use metal? Then others say to use the microwave. But, I don't see anywhere how much water to put in the bowl, or if the yarn is to be wet. Very confused on this method. Another says you can put the yarn in a gallon bag and set in the sun. I thought it needed to be heated to almost simmering. What is the way you do it? I don't want to felt my yarn and I want the color to stick.
I had bought a variegated green yarn that is a little too light for me and want it a tad bit darker. Any suggestions as to what I should do and how much food coloring to use. The variegation in the green is subtle. If I dye it darker will it keep some variegation look or will it come out all one color? The microwave directions show the gal puts color gel in spots on the yarn. But, I don't know if she saturates the yarn with water first. I'd like to keep the subtle variegation but be darker green variegation. TIA

Nikki
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Date: 10/30/13 11:40 AM

Food coloring is a type of acid dye. It needs heat and acid (like vinegar) in order to set the dye.

Aluminum pots are not a good choice, but you can use stainless steel. Enamel pots are fine as well. You can use a crockpot if it is large enough. For microwaving, you can use a plastic container that can withstand high temperatures. You can also lay out plastic wrap and roll the yarn up into a burrito - just be warned that some dye may leak out while microwaving. Glass or enamel casserole dishes can also be used in the microwave or oven.

The yarn does need to be wetted out first. I'd recommend soaking it overnight or at least for a few hours, with a little bit of detergent in the water.

Depending on the method that you use to overdye your yarn, it may be more or less variegated. If the yarn is crowded in the pot, or if you add dye concentrate directly to certain areas of the yarn, it will be more variegated. To apply the overdye evenly, you need a large pot so the yarn can swim freely.

------
mmmmm woooool

Mrs. Cecil
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In reply to jewelsfashions <<
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Date: 10/30/13 12:59 PM

The easiest and cheapest way to dye wool is with Kool-aid or food coloring. (You can combine them to make your own colors too!)

I used the Knitty tutorial when I did it and had great results.

before:


after:


To create variegated colors (not in the pics, sorry)I set mason jars with the dissolved kool-aid in a giant canning pot filled with water. It was hot but not boiling. To do a solid color I dissolved the kool-aid directly in the pot. In both cases I left the yarn in the water until all the kool-aid was absorbed.

It's kind of a trial and error process. Just keep really good notes about what color and how many packets or drops you used. Also, you can use vinegar to the mix to lighten or remove color if you decide that you've added too much.

As far as I can tell felting only comes into play if you manipulate the wet yarn, which doesn't happen until you try to rinse/wash it after it's been dyed. I dyed about 18 skeins and the only one that started to felt was the one that ended up purple. I didn't like the result of the first attempt (think dog vomit brown) and kept soaking it in vinegar, washing it to remove the vinegar and re-dyeing it. (It was probably dyed, washed, soaked, washed and wrung out at least a dozen times before it started to felt.)

Elona
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Date: 10/31/13 2:30 AM

I have done some dyeing on a catch-as-catch-can basis, and have had quite a bit of success with Kool-Aid dyeing of pure wool yarn. Here are the results of overdyeing KnitPicks Gossamer 'SweetPeas' yarn using Kool Aid in the color Cherry.

When I bought the yarn, I thought, 'Yeah, that looks like basic Sweet Peas, and so it did--on the skein. Knitted up, though, it was overall violently magenta, and the palest pink in the skein--and there was a lot of it--read as near-white! Gaaaaah. Not beautiful. Kind of trashy-looking, actually.

But I followed online instructions for dyeing this pure wool, and after experimenting with short hanks of yarn, found that Kool-Aid's 'Cherry' (not the artificially-sweetened version) mellowed out those rather garish colors and gave them a kind of sunset glow instead.

I was very pleased, and the colors are quite stable, as it turns out.

jewelsfashions

jewelsfashions
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In reply to Nikki <<


Date: 11/1/13 11:32 AM

Thank you. good to know info. I may do the "apply to certain areas" since I do like the variegated look.

jewelsfashions

jewelsfashions
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In reply to Mrs. Cecil <<


Date: 11/1/13 11:46 AM

Thank you for the info. Good to know that I won't felt the yarn unless I play with it too much. Wasn't sure how much was too much. I hope to get this yarn dyed in the next few days. Thank you for the pictures. I'm shocked to see how much the colors take. After looking at yours and at others online I'm afraid that it may become a hobby and I'll have more yarn than I can use just like more fabric than I sew

jewelsfashions

jewelsfashions
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In reply to Elona <<


Date: 11/1/13 11:49 AM

oh that is pretty! I'm ready to give it a try. I think I will try a small portion of my yarn to get an idea what it looks like and then proceed with the whole batch at once so it looks like it goes together.

Mrs. Cecil
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Date: 11/1/13 1:12 PM

Yeah, it's really addictive. It starts out small with trying to update those two leftover skeins in the back of the closet, then one day you look up and realize that you have a stock pile of kool-aid and a closet full of the ugliest yarn ever spun just because you're sure that you can fix it.

Then you start experimenting and realize that Easter egg dye gives even better colors. Trust me, if you think it's hard to justify a fabric stash try explaining the 20 or so packets of Easter egg dye that were such a deal at 80% off. It's not pretty.

You'll know that it's become a real problem when you start thinking about buying old sweaters at thrift store so you can unravel them and dye the yarn. At least that was when I had to step away from the kool-aid...

jewelsfashions

jewelsfashions
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In reply to Mrs. Cecil <<


Date: 11/1/13 5:38 PM

I did think of going to the thrift store. I figured hey why not get yarn for a whole sweater at the cost of say $6 to $10 and redo the color. If I didn't like it oh well its only $10 at the most right? Oh boy, I haven't even started on this yarn and I'm already thinking of more. I have to tell myself over and over one thing at a time. One thing at a time. Oh heck I'm sure I'll be in the thrift store soon. I almost stopped at the yarn shop just to see what the cheapest ugliest yarn would cost. step away from the store. step away from the store.

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