09 May 2011

Adventures in Dyeing

I decided to try my hand at dyeing wool roving for spinning. You can really come up with endless color combinations when you're dyeing and spinning your own yarn. My husband chose the colors for this go round. Half the roving is purple and orange and it will be plied with yellow. I used Kool-aid to dye the yarn because it works, the color is bright and it is safe to have in the house around my son and I can use the same pots that I use for cooking.

Here we go, lots of pics!

So this was the final product, the splotches are unexpected, but appreciated. I call it In the Koi Pond

The first thing I had to set up was my music. I chose Ben Folds for this particular project

This is the 1 lb ball of roving I bought. It is mysterious wool top according to the shop lady. They didn't know what kind of lamb it was from! I was intrigued. Its very soft.

I set a big roaster on the stove to heat to about 200 degrees and in the meantime poured 5 or so packs of Kool-Aid into recycled Kimchi jars and a couple inches of water (If you're as fond of kimchi as I am you probably have many of these)

We've achieved the heat! You want it to be hot enough to make the dye stick to the fiber, but not boiling as the boil may agitate the wool enough to felt it.  Throughout the dyeing process I kept turning the burner on a bit to warm it up.

I added half a pound of yarn and turned the burner off.

Then I poured the dye in specific spots of the yarn--purple on the sides, orange in the middle.

TA-DA! I let it set for 45 minutes turning on the burner intermittently to keep the water above 150 degrees. You'll know its done when the water is clear after 45 minutes. If you have the time, let it chill overnight until it gets to room temperature. It can sit just fine.

For my second round, I decided to tie the yarn off. so it wasn't as hard to remove from the pot. It turned out much better.

The end result!

Things I would do differently:
  • Dye smaller amounts at a time
  • I want to try dyeing premade yarn, because I'm not sure how well the purple and yellow will hold once they are spun
  • Different colors!
  • Buy more kool-aid. I thought I was being generous, but apparently not!  Use lots and lots and turn the yarn lots.
  • I want to try this in the crockpot as well. 
  • Basically, I want to do more and more and more! :)
Even if you don't knit or crochet, I recommend giving this a shot! There are great tutorials out there and its just fun to mess with! You could even dye your own yarn and I will knit something out of it for you :)

1 comment:

PoetessWug said...

Very nice!...But you are WAAAAAAY more ambitious than me!! LOL I love crocheting, but I have no interest...what-so-ever...in making my own yarn, or dyeing it!! I'll leave that to those of you who clearly do love it, and know what you're doing! ^_^ But I did enjoy seeing the process. So, thanks for sharing it!