Thursday, 23 April 2009

Dyeing for the impatient!

I love dyeing wool but I'm not the most patient person on the planet. I'm spontaneous, when I get an idea in my head I have to try it and I want to try it now - not in 2 hours time after I've soaked the wool...

I've been experimenting and have come up with some short cuts for instant gratification dyeing. I've got 2 main methods I use now and both take less than an hour from start to finish.

The Hand painted Microwave method.

You need:
a microwave
cling film
an old towel
a big table
a plastic table cloth
food colouring
citric acid or white vinegar
a turkey baster

1) Soak wool in warm water with a drop of detergent
2) Prep kitchen table with plastic table cloth, cling film and old towel
3) Mix up dyes. I disolve Sugarflair paste in a solution of hot water with 1/2 teaspon of citric acid (alternatively you can use a glug of white vinegar).
4) Lay out wool on towel and paint with dyes using turkey baster. Turn wool over to ensure full coverage on the back.
5) Pick up wool, remove towel and wrap up wool in clingfilm.
6) Roll the wrapped wool into a coil and put it in a microwave safe bowl.
7) Zap the wool in the microwave on DEFROST for 2 minutes, let it rest 2 minutes then zap it on DEFROST for another 2 minutes.
8) Go make a cup of coffee and wait for the wool to cool down a bit.
9) When you've finished your coffee unwrap wool and hang it up to cool it down quickly, on an airer over the bath is a good place as it catches the drips.
10) Clean up the mess you've made in the kitchen while the wool is cooling.
11) When the wool is cool, gently rinse it in warm water, put it in a small laundry bag and spin it in the washing machine on the slowest speed setting.
12) Hang the wool to dry, I either put it on the line or in the airing cupboard.

The Stove Top Method

You can use this for wool or fibre. You can use it to create some lovely semi solid colourways.

You need:
wool yarn or fibre
a big stock pot with a lid
gas or electric hob
food colouring
citric acid or white vinegar
a turkey baster

1) Soak your wool or fibre in warm water.
2) Fill the stock pot about 2" deep with warm water
3) Mix up your dyes with hot water and 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid (or a glug of white vinegar)
4) Put your wet wool into the pot. Arrange it so it's in a single layer for the best coverage.
5) Turn on the heat under the pot. You need a gentle heat so have it on the lowest setting.
6) Paint the wool with your dyes using a turkey baster. You might want to turn the wool over to get good coverage or just stick the baster into the wool and squirt the dye to get it to the bottom.
7) Simmer the wool on the lowest heat setting for about 30 minutes.
8) Spend about 30 minutes browsing stuff on Ravelry.
9) The water in the pan should now be clear, if it is pour it out of the pan and leave the wool to cool.
10) Make a coffee and go look at Ravelry again.
11) When the wool is cool, rinse it in warm water, spin it in the washing machine on the lowest speed and hang it to dry.

Voila! Hand dyed yarn in under an hour!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Stock Pot Dyeing

I invested the princely sum of a tenner in a huge stock pot form Wilko's the other day with a mind to do some dyeing. I usually dye stuff in the microwave which is fine for spun yarns but I tend to felt fibre which is not good. I read a few tutorials and thought I'd give it a go!

The first thing I did was some superwash merino fibre. It was mega thirsty for the dye so I just kept squirting more colours in and turning the fibre until I got decent coverage. I'm really pleased with how it's turned out.

Next I tried some organic merino dk. I had hoped that it would turn out more blue but I had a bit too uch liquid in the pan and the green travelled - I still like the result though, a lovely green semi solid.

Next I tried some more organic merino dk, this time in shades of lemon, peach and pink. It's much more orange irl and looks so zingy, perfect for spring. Now all I need is a few more hours in the day so I can get it made up into some fabulous garments!