March 7, 2010 at 9:24 am #251599
I’m a newbie at dyeing woollen yarn, using food colouring in the microwave. So far I’ve had great success with solid colours but I want to move on to variegated yarns. Research tells me that it is best to start with colours next to each other on the colour wheel.
I’ve been having trouble with the colours getting muddy. When wound into a skein the wool on top is fine but the colour seems to run and then it pools in the bottom of the dish and mixes a little leaving the wool on the bottom of the skein dyed the mixed colour (ie I’m dying with yellow and blue dyes which I want variegated but I end up with 25% yellow, 25% blue and 50% green). I know that I may have to expect a little mixing where the colours meet each other but this is a good majority of the yarn.
I’m wondering if I am using too much liquid? I’m using about 1/2tsp colouring to 1/3 cup water and rubbing it in then wrapping the whole thing in cling wrap. Not all of the dye mix gets used. Should it be wet or just damp with dye? Should I cut down on the water quantity or the whole mix?
Should I be trying to use a tray underneath to lift the wool out of any dye runoff or will that prevent an adequate takeup of dye?
I’ve heard that you can heat the dye in the oven which would allow me to use a roasting tray if that would work??
Sorry about the long post but I wanted to give you the necessary detail to work with. Any thoughs greatly appreciated as I can experiment but find knitting with ‘failed’ projets a little depressing!
RebeccaMarch 7, 2010 at 1:03 pm #455585
There are a couple of different ways to deal with this.
One is to “paint” the dye onto the parts of the skein you want and wrap the lengths of the skein in plastic wrap rather than bundling it up together.
Another is to do one colour at a time – ie: soak your skein in vinegar mix, dip one end of it into one colour and then wrap and zap.
Let it cool, dip another part of the skein into the next colour, wrap and zap again.
So on and so forth.
We’ve been playing with different types of dyes using the stove-top method instead of the microwave lately. The theory is that you need to try and use ALL the dye up – so for example, we have varigated some yarn by cooking on the stove-top, damp vinegar-soaked wool with dye poured over one part, and gently simmered til the colour is all gone – then repeat with different colours.
IMO you shouldn’t be ‘rubbing’ the dye in at all – it may cause your yarn to felt.
There are loads of good resources online about dyeing with food colouring – some are american and use koolaid but the instructions are pretty similar except for the vinegar thing here.
AliMarch 8, 2010 at 12:44 am #455586
Thanks Ali – a great help,
I’m intrigued by the idea of doing different colours separately – is there a limit to how many times I can heat the wool? I’m assuming as long as it is damp and in short bursts it is all ok?
How much liquid should be on the wool? Does it need to be swimming or just damp? I’m unsure how to stop the liquid leaking onto the surrounding wool?
Oh and don’t worry I’m paranoid about felting ‘rubbing’ isn’t really the right word for what I do but hard to suggest ‘tentative pressing’ in a post!
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