Friday, June 23, 2006

Dye-vine Inspiration: Dip Dye Method

I've been at it again but this time I used the 'dip dye' method. I had the most fun today. Although this process took longer, the resulting colours were much deeper and richer. There are lots of instructions out there explaining how to achieve exact stripes, especially if you want your stripes to follow a particular pattern. I am not actually that fussed how the wool colours come out - I'm just happy having fun!

Here are some brief instructions on how I used the 'dip dye' method to overdye my grey and beige wool with food colour paste:

Prepare the yarn by tying the skeins in a few places to stop the wool from getting tangled up.

Presoak the wool in a mixture of white distilled vinegar and warm hand hot water (I used 1/4 pint of vinegar to 1 litre of warm water for 200g fingering weight wool). Leave wool to soak for about 1/2-1 hour. You can wrap the container in a towel to keep it warm.

While the wool is soaking, mix up the dye. For each skein (50g approx) I used 1/2 tsp of colour to 1/4 pint of very hot/nearly boiling water to dissolve the paste. As you can see from the pictures, I mixed up 4 colours: melon, green, claret, purple. You can add more or less paste, depending on how deep you want the colour. (Remember I was overdying grey and beige wool so my dyebath had to be quite strong). I haven't tried it on white wool yet but that's my next dye-vine project.

In a saucepan, I placed 4 jars of equal height and added the coloured liquid to each jar. I then added enough water to fill the jars to about 3/4 full. Make sure the temperature of the dye is hand hot - if it's too hot you could shock the wool into felting. Obviously, this shouldn't be a problem with superwash wool.

Pour some warm hot tap water into the saucepan to about 1/3 of the way up the jars, and put the saucepan on a low heat to keep the water warm.

Place your wool skeins into the jars and leave to soak up the dye. If you want colour to reach the wool that's sitting on the top of the jars you can either dip the section into the jar or pour some of the dye over it. Experiment.

I left the saucepan on a low heat for about 1 hour. Then I removed it from the heat and left it to sit until it cooled down - about 4 hours (and had a cat nap!).

The wool should be ready to take out of the jars when the dyebath is practically clear. I rinsed the wool under the tap using lukewarm water. At this point the colour should be fixed as the dye was set in the hot solution. However, if you find you are losing lots of colour when you rinse the wool, try heat setting it in the microwave - instructions below.*

**After rinsing the wool, I gently washed the skeins with Fairy Non Bio washing powder (to remove the smell of the vinegar - a lesson I learned from my first dye-vine experience). Gently squeeze out the excess water, wrap the wool in an old towel to soak up excess water, squeeze and then hang out to dry.

*Instructions for heat setting wool in the microwave using a dish/bowl:

Remove the wool from the dyebath and place on a microwaveable plate/dish.

Cover with clingfilm and pierce holes in the film.

Place in microwave for 1 minute on high heat, then remove and allow steam to escape.

Do this until no more colour comes off the wool - I wouldn't recommend doing it for more than a total of 4 times as you can over cook the wool and the dye.

To test if the colour has fixed, I dab the wool with a piece of kitchen towel to see if any colour comes away.

REMEMBER: the wool will be very hot so handle with extreme care. Best thing is to remove film carefully with oven gloves if you can because you will get burnt!.

Use a pair of salad tongs to lift the wool up and drape it over the dish or hang it up somewhere so that it can cool down. Then follow instructions on washing the wool above**.


Piglottie said...

Love the look of your site Bernie, looking very professional. Yarn dyeing is as delicious as ever!

Dip Lady Knits said...

Oh my, it looks like you have been having lot of fun. I hope when things calm down in my life (hahaha) that I can try this too! I love the colors! Thanks for all the careful details, I'm sure I will refer to them when I give this a try.

Jeanne said...

Very nice - love the colors! I just started dyeing - so much fun!

Jeri said...

Hi, Bernie, just found your blog and it's nice. Also wanted to let you know some of your pics from a month or so ago seem to be gone??

craftybernie said...

Oops! I'll need to investigate that....

Thanks for visiting.

ObsessiveCompulsive Crafter said...

I want to do this so much! Thanks for the great details and photos. Sounds like fun!

craftybernie said...

Let me know how you get on with your dyeing....