Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Dyeing at home

I had a lovely time on Saturday morning. I had seen on Instagram that Laura from Adventures in Yarncraft was holding a 'Dye at Home' yarn dyeing workshop via Zoom so thought it would be fun to give it a go. I received my kit in the post in plenty of time. It included two foil trays for dyeing the yarn, two skeins of merino yarn, 4 pots of acid dyes, a pot of citric acid, pots for mixing dyes, spoons, gloves and a mask. Laura asked us to soak our yarn prior to the start of the workshop, so that we could get on with the dyeing nice and quickly. We were instructed on the safety aspects - wear a mask when the pots of dye are open is the most important, and then Laura showed us how to go about dyeing a skein.

It was inevitable that one of my skeins was going to be purple! I mixed some of the Amethyst and Peacock Blue dye powders together in hot water and was very happy with the colour they produced. The dye pot was topped up with cold water before pouring it into the foil tray. More water was added to make sure that the dye bath was deep enough. The skein of yarn was then added to the tray and moved about in the dye to ensure that the yarn took up the dye as evenly as possible. Then citric acid was sprinkled into the dye bath and mixed in before putting the tray into a warm oven for about 30 minutes.

You can see how the dye gets taken up by the yarn and the remaining liquid is clear. I guess that if you were using a really saturated colour, there might be some residue still in the water. While this skein was 'cooking' in the oven, we made a start on the second skein. For this one, we were learning how to dye a variegated skein so mixed up three colours. I went for a teal blue shade, a fresh green and a yellow-green mix. The skein was put into the foil tray and the different pots of dye were poured over different areas of the yarn. Despite the fact that I had washed my hands (in the gloves), when I picked up the skein, I managed to get some specks of purple dye on it! So I added a tiny bit more purple to various points on the skein to hopefully disguise my error! I think that I need to add some more purple now that the skein is dry so that it's a bit more obvious, but I am waiting a few days to decide.

While the second skein was 'cooking', I removed a lot of the water from the tray with the purple skein in it. We were going to add some speckles and the yarn needs to be drier so that the speckles of dye powder don't spread out too much. I decided to add some black speckles followed by some blue and amethyst ones. Laura suggested that we mixed a tiny bit of dye powder with some citric acid to encourage the dye to set quickly. In a couple of places, my yarn was a little bit too wet so the speckles spread a bit more than I wanted, but on the whole, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. The speckled yarn went back into the oven so that the heat could work its magic. Once cool, both skeins were rinsed thoroughly in room temperature water and then hung to dry outside.

The following day, I twisted the yarn into skeins so that I could admire it! I love the purple skein in particular.

The green skein is pretty too, but I do think it needs a few more splashes of purple. They are still a bit sparse and look like they got there by accident! (Which of course they did!) What do you think? Should I add more purple or just leave it as it is?

I loved dyeing the yarn and would like to dye more, just for myself or as presents for fellow yarn lovers. Not that I need another creative rabbit hole to disappear down of course! If you are interested in having a go yourself, I think that Laura is planning to hold more dye workshops via Zoom. There were 15 of us in the workshop and it was absolutely fine as Laura explained and demonstrated everything so clearly. Thank you Laura! As the skeins are both DK weight, I'm thinking that they will become hats or cowls. The yarn is lovely and plump and I think it will have a gorgeous stitch definition. Which do you prefer? And what would you knit with them? Let me know in the comments. Stay safe and chat again soon. xxx


DebbyMc said...

Oooooh! I love your yarns you dyed! And I lovvvve just the little touch of purple in the teal/green skein. It's like a secret surprise. The purple speckled skein is gorgeous. I don't know what I'd make, but probably cowls. What fun!

VeggieMummy said...

What a fun workshop and the resultant yarns are gorgeous. I think I'd probably go for fingerless mitts - I have them in various coats and bags in the winter so I'm never without a pair. You can never have too many! xx

Across the Pond said...

I like the variegated yarn as is; I agree with DebbieMc. I’d probably design a relatively plain stitch afghan with diagonals and use both yarns. triangles and chevrons.

Jane Winter said...

They are beautiful yarns Helen; well done. I don't see it as another rabbit hole just an extension of the ones that you are already in. Have you thought about combining your spinning and dyeing to make a really unique yarn to knit into something that is really personal?
Take care

Christi said...

What a fun and interesting post this is, I thought that the dyeing would be a much more complicated process but it seems quite straightforward. Both of your skeins are lovely, I especially like the variegated one with the splashes of purple. I think that either skein would make a lovely cowl but I'm looking forward to seeing what you decide to knit.
Sending hugs and warm thoughts,
Kim from Canada xx

Helen said...

I don't think the purple specks are that bad in the green/blue skein. Both look lovely. Enjoy knitting!