Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dyeing Yarn at Home

Since I agreed to make a scarf for my Aunt as a trade for a three panel screen with rice paper inserts depicting Chinese brush painted fish on one side and a bamboo forest on the other, I had to get cracking on preparing the scarf.  I talked with my Aunt this weekend and we decided that she would paint the three panel on each side as one picture broken into the panels instead of individual scenes per panel which would be easier, but I know not what I'm talking about....so....to the yarn.....

Since the pattern is called Bears on Glacier with illusion knitting of white bears on a variegated blue background, I needed two skeins of yarn - one in an off-white and one in a variegated blue.  The original pattern came as a kit from Alaska and is not available for on-line ordering so I had to buy yarn.  See post Unexpected Sale for the result of my first attempt at this pattern.

My fiber dealer, Fluffysgarden was able to purloin some superwash merino in ecru for me.  It came in 2 large skeins weighing 19 ounces together.  I separated one of the skeins into two sections about equal weight and soaked one skein in water with a little soap.

After squeezing out the water, I laid that yarn in a prepared tray of plastic wrap ready to absorb dye.  I mixed three colors of acid dyes in the color ways - brilliant blue, sky blue, and sea breeze.
These are the color dots next to the left over yarn from the original kit.  I then layered on the dye and doused the entire pan with vinegar.
After wrapping it up like a burrito and placing the bundle in a steamer for 35 minutes, I let the entire bundle cool overnight to room temperature before rinsing.

The next day, I unbundled the yarn and set it in a pan with cool water for rinsing and was happy to discover that all the dye exhausted (clear rinse water).  There was no color bleed from the rinse and after a few dunkings to rid the skein of vinegar smell, it went outside to be hung for drying.
Here is the comparison between the newly dyed skein and the original variegated yarn that came with the kit.  A pretty close match if I do say so myself!
Next it is on to the knitting.  I may be pretty ambitious to plan to finish this by the end of August.

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