Thursday, December 3, 2009

Second Dye Day

Over the weekend, I used one of the last somewhat warm days of this year to fire up my dyeworks again. (I have a few questions at the end of this post. If you're a dyer, I'd love to hear your ideas!)

I made two quick improvements to my process. Jim gave me 4 paint stirrers from his stash, so I had separate stirrers for each dye pot.

This time I converted the weight of the table salt needed for each dyepot to fluid ounces so I could just measure it in my dye measuring cups. I used a nifty little online conversion tool that can convert weight to volume for more than 400 substances.

Turquoise & Blue

In my first dye session, I used pure colors as they were given to me.

This time I got a little more adventurous and made some mixtures. The dyes were already dissolved into dye solutions, so I mixed by proportions instead of by exact formulas.

Three resources that helped me were:

I pushed the turquoise toward blue and toward green by adding blue or green to the turquoise dye.

I combined orange and brown to make pumpkin. (It darkened to brown about halfway through the dyeing process. Not quite what I wanted, but OK.)

I combined red and orange hoping for something different from the red I dyed last time....and that looks like it was successful.

Note the theme of moving away from orange in those two combinations.

Finally, I combined red with brown in an attempt to make burgundy. I threw a teaspoon or purple in there, and about a quarter cup of black. (Those measurements were of dye mixed with water - not of dye powder!)

I hoped for burgundy. I got something more like eggplant.

Turquoise & Green, Eggplant, Red-Orange

  1. How do you tie your skeins so they don't get tangled and snarled?
  2. To dye yarn a pastel color, do you just add a lot more water (or a lot less dye?)
  3. Once the yarn reaches a color you like, can you remove it from the dye bath to stop it from getting darker?? I had a combination of orange and brown that looked like pumpkin on the yarn for quite a while. But then it got darker and darker, and is brown now. Was there some way to stop it from changing from pumpkin to brown??
  4. Do you just squeeze excess water out of the skeins and hang them to dry? Or is there a trick to get them to dry faster? Mine are drying indoors, and it takes days.

If you can answer any of these, please comment or email me!!!

I want to show you pictures of finished yarn. And I will, once it's dry and turned into balls of yarn instead of unruly clumps of color.

I definitely appreciate color, dyers, and all of my colored yarn so much more now!!

Related posts:
First dye session


Sharon said...

I tie my skeins in four places, using a figure-eight tie. I don't know how to cold water dye so have no comment on halting color, but to dry, I "blot" the skeins in towels, lay towels on the floor in the doorway and then hand the skeins from coat hangers in the doorway on the second floor. The wood heat rises and dries them in a day. Of course, I've never dyed that many skeins at once before!

Life Looms Large said...

I'm dyeing cotton and linen in this case (because of the way the dye was mixed when I got it). So it doesn't require heat.

I didn't blot the skeins in towels. I probably should have. It is much drier where you live than where I do. (I loved how fast my hair dried when I was vacationing in Utah. I have thick hair - short but still thick - and it takes hours to dry around here.)

My second batch I tied in 8 places, so maybe it will be less snarly than the first batch. Fingers crossed! It's still drying so time will tell.


Kelly said...

I put skeins in the washer (top loader) and put the dial on the spin part of the wash cycle. My washer has rinse (in which water is sprayed) and spin (no spray) as separate sections on the dial. This spins out most of the water and the skeins dry very quickly once I take them out and hang them up.

Leisurely Lesley said...

Hi Sue, From my understanding, and I could very well be wrong, re: pastel colours - use less dye. Apparently the amount of water added is not important as the dye molecules will attach themselves to your fibre until exhausted, regardless of the amount of dilution.

Margreet said...

Sue, I tie my skeins at 4 places in a loop of 8 or if the skein is bigger I will extend the loop 8 threading up-and-down through the skein to keep the yarns in better place. Not sure how to word this better.
For a paler colour you will need to use less dye and salt.
For drying I use my spin dryer that I still have and I hang my skeins to dry on a hung up drainpipe that I bought specially for this.

Delighted Hands said...

I like a relaxed set of rules for dyeing but there are some things that help you get where you want to be:
1-Almost no stirring, just gently move to submerge areas
2- less dye and more water( same thing really) Removing yarn sooner also helps here.
3-Again, remove as soon as you see a color you love
4-squeeze, rinse, squeeze and machine spin-they dry in a few hours this way.

Life Looms Large said...

Thanks for your ideas! I think it will go much better next time. (And I'm pretty sure there will be a next time.)

One big mistake I made was being so worried about dyeing the skeins unevenly that I stirred a lot, and used very loose ties. I have been turning the tangled skeins into balls when I watch TV, but next time I hope to avoid that.

Also it seems like I could have just pulled the pumpkin colored yarn out at that point, instead of letting it turn brown.

Thank you!!! (And all of the ideas for drying are also appreciated. The fact that it's drying slowly isn't causing me a problem this go round, but it's good to know some solutions!)


Deanna said...

If you ever get a chance to take Sara Lamb's Dye Any Color workshop, take it. It's FABULOUS, and you end up with a great notebook of samples with the percentages of each source color in the blend.

bspinner said...

I think you've gotten a lot of great advise and comments already so I'll just tell you I can't wait to see all your beautiful yarn.

Life Looms Large said...

Thanks so much for the great ideas! Next time I'm sure it will go more smoothly. I did really have fun with it though - even though preparing and dyeing all of this yarn took quite a while!

I'm really happy to see a couple of new commenters here too! Great to hear from all of you!!!