Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Tutorial on Dyeing Blanks

I thought I'd write up a little tutorial on how I dye my wool blanks. I'm by no menas and expert dyer but I do like to muck in and have fun! If you have any questions, tips or suggestions please leave a comment. Enjoy!

Mrs Flowerpot's Tutorial for Dyeing Wool Blanks

First preapre your blank. You can knit your own on a knitting machine or buy ready made sock blanks. Wash the blank and either spin it on the wool setting on your washing machine or roll it in a towel to squeeze the excess moisture out of it. You want the blank to be damp, not wet.

Prepare your work surface. I cover my kitchen table with a roll of bubble wrap and place a couple of old towels on top. The towels help absorb the moisture from the dyes so the colours don't run.

Lay out your blank on the towels. Stocking stitch blanks have a tendancy to curl up so I pin mine out purl side up with blocking pins.

Prepare your dyes. You can use any kind of dye suitable for wool from Kool Aid to professional acid dyes.

Start painting! I use a turkey baster but you can use a foam tipped brush or squeezy bottles with a nozzle on. You want to cover the wool with colour but try not to get it dripping wet. The towel will soak up some of the liquid but colours will run if you get it too wet.

By pinning the blank purl side up you can use the lines of bumps to get nice straight lines for your stripes.

When you've covered the blank in dye take out all the pins and roll up the blank in cling film and set the dye by steaming it or nuking it in the microwave - just do whatever you would normally do to a hand painted skein of yarn.

When it's cool, wash, rinse and dry and then you're ready to knit! You can knit straight from the blank or if you're a complete perfectionist you can reskein the yarn and re-soak it to get rid of the kinks. Hopefully you should have perfect self striping wool :D