Tuesday, 3 November 2015

adventures in dyeing yarn

Last month I signed up to the latest FibreShare yarn swap. As part of my swap package I decided to try my hand at dyeing some yarn. 

It's something I've been wanting to try for a while and I thought it would be nice to include something handmade and unique for my swap partner, along with the other fibre goodies.

I've shared a little about the process I followed below if you are interested. 

I thought I'd start on a small scale so I picked picked two 50g balls of eco cotton yarn, one in a pale blue and one in a pale lilac. My aim was to try some ombre effects with the dye and I didn't want a pure white base colour to begin with.

I separated out each 50g ball into two (very approximate) 25g skeins and tied each skein in various places so that it wouldn't get too tangled whilst dyeing.

Next was the fun part! I chose a sunny October saturday and set up a couple of buckets of dye in the garden. The dye colours I chose were emerald green and burlesque red, although as you can see they ended up more like blue and purple.

I dip-dyed segments of the yarn for different lengths of time to try and achieve some different colour effects and I dyed a couple of the skeins in both dye baths to create some colour gradients.

Once I was happy with them I rinsed the dye out in cold water and then hand-washed the cotton with some detergent, just to wash out any colour that wasn't fixed. Then I hung them on the line to catch the end of the day's sunshine (which unfortunately didn't last very long so I had to bring them in and dry them inside overnight).

Once they were dry I wound them up into small hanks, which did involve getting in a bit of a tangle, but they ended up nice and neat in the end.

Here are the finished results... 

I'm really happy with how they all turned out, and love the fact that they're all different. I sent a couple of them out to my FibreShare partner and kept a couple for myself. 

I can't wait to see how they look when they're knitted. Shame they're all quite small, but it'll make a good reference point for future attempts. It would be so nice to knit a cardigan out of my own hand-dyed yarn.

Next I want to try dyeing with natural materials. 
We've already started collecting up our onion skins!

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