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Dye Journal: Getting Started

Dyeing dyeing yarn

I've been posting on Instagram some of my results from playing around with dyeing yarn. I think I can say with confidence many of us who are knitters also love to dabble in other crafts like sewing, jewelry making, ceramics, etc. I'm sure I'm not alone in my desire to learn all the things! For some reason I couldn't get dyeing out of my head so I had to satisfy the urge and give it a try. It might be because I'm surrounded by artists like Hope, who works in the shop and is constantly working on something new (like our Macrame class!), and Sarah Eichhorn, who teaches natural dyeing and also our upcoming Shibori class. These two are so inspiring! 

I thought it would be interesting to document my process to those of you who are also interested in giving yarn dyeing a try. 

In the future, I would love to do an in depth post on the techniques I've been using and what I've found works for me. I am definitely not a professional dyer and I give those that do it regularly SO much credit! It is certainly fun but I fully believe it is also quite an art form as well. 

I've been using acid dyes from Dharma Trading Co which are fairly easy to use and come in a variety of rich colors. The yarn was a superwash wool that was also easy to work with. More on the tools later! Let's look at some of the results!

These were my first babies! The first and fourth one from the left I attempted to do a solid variegated yarn and they turned out pretty great. My friend Britney, an avid sock knitter, is using the blue on her latest pair. I have to admit it's super fun to see yarn I dyed being worked up into a finished product.

The purple one from my first batch wasn't terrible but it was not quite what I was shooting for. Both of the orange colored yarns were, in my opinion, quite muddy and definitely different than I was expecting!

On to round two because of course I was instantly hooked...

These four skeins are the worst of the bunch. I've discovered the darker or bolder colors (the orange and the purple) are difficult for me, a newbie, to work with. The colors that resulted aren't appealing to me. They turned out very muddy, and I don't think I used enough citric acid for the color to completely soak in. 

Speckles are so hot right now! These were the best of the bunch! I think I got my ratio of heat and citric acid right. Next I need to work on controlling the speckle. There are some spots that got very dense with dye. 

I got cocky and tried a non-superwash wool. The green skein on the right isn't terrible but the orange on the left...again I found the color to act unpredictably and turn muddy in some spots and I accidentally felted the fiber a bit...oops! 

If you're interested in following my dye journey and learning how to do it yourself, I hope you'll follow along! Future posts will include the tools I've used, techniques, and resources. I've also been itching to learn how to whittle...maybe that will be next? Hmmm. What craft have you been itching to try? 

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