Tuesday, April 3, 2018

TUTORIAL - "SPECKLE" DYEING A YARN SKEIN IN A MICROWAVE


Out of all of my dyeing experiments this is by far the easiest and my absolute favorite!

I presoaked a skein of my 250 yd, dk weight alpaca yarn in a water and vinegar bath for approximately 1 hour. You need enough water to cover the skein when submerged with approximately 1/4 cup vinegar.




Once soaked gently squeeze out excess water so that the skein is only damp.


Cover your working surface using plastic wrap to protect against any dye spills. Use enough plastic to cover the surface and to then wrap the skein up into once dye has been applied.




I had found these mini salt shakers at a local Dollar Store and knew they would be perfect for this experiment. I filled them partially with the colors I wanted to use. My choice of dye for my alpaca fiber is usually professional acid based dyes such as Jacquard or Country Classics with vinegar as the mordant. Since I will be shaking the dry dye onto my alpaca yarn directly from the shakers there will be no mixing of the dye. If not using animal fiber yarn then make sure you are using the correct dye for the material you are using. The yarn has already been soaking in a water/vinegar bath with the vinegar being the mordant for the dye.



You should wear some plastic gloves whenever using dye. If you are concerned about chemicals in the dye and especially since you are shaking out the powdered dye, a mask would be highly recommended.

Take the damp skein of yarn and lay it onto the plastic wrap - spread it apart slightly. Then let the fun begin. Lightly shake each of the colors onto the skein wherever you want. There is no right or wrong way. You do not need a lot because it will begin to spread with the moisture of the skein. Once done on one side flip the skein over and do the other side.


   

    

   

   

Now wrap the skein up in the plastic wrap and put it into a microwave safe dish. 


 

 

 


I will be using my microwave to set the dye. My preferred method of dyeing my alpaca fiber is either in a crockpot or the microwave. I have both that are only for the purpose of dyeing. Any utensils or items you use for dyeing should not be used for anything else.


I microwave it on high for 2 minutes, let it rest for 2 minutes, again on high for 2 minutes, rest 2 minutes and high for 2 minutes. (You may have to check your microwave for this – you should not have any popping sounds coming from the microwave; if so , it is too hot and you will need to adjust the time.) Plastic will expand when heating in the microwave and will be very hot when you take it out. Care should be given. Once out let it sit on the counter overnight or until it is COLD to handle.

I am a firm believer that the longer the dye sits the better it sets. Plus it will continue to absorb any residual dye that may be remaining and will make it easier to rinse in cold water in the morning, without any worries about varying temps and felting.

Carefully cut the plastic away making sure not to be near any of the yarn when doing so.


Soak the yarn in a soapy cold water bath (I use Dawn dish detergent) and then rinse under cold running water. Do not agitate just soak and rinse. You may notice excess dye rinsing out at this point. I believe this is due to the fact that the dye was dry when applied. Keep rinsing until the water runs clear.


Once rinsed place in an old towel to absorb more moisture then remove and hang skein to dry.


This is by far my favorite and I plan on doing many more of these!

How did it knit up?

 



I hope this tutorial was a help should you decide to try dyeing fiber and I hope you enjoy dyeing your own fibers as much as I do!!

Shop my Rock Garden Alpacas Etsy Store for speckle dyed yarns, fibers, rovings, handmade items and much more!


Please respect My Terms of Use:  Copyright © 2004 -2018 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Debbie Bohringer  All rights reserved. Tutorials, how-to's, articles and other e-products are for personal use only. You may not modify, photocopy, download, upload, post, transmit, display, perform, publish, license, reprint, create derivative works from, mass duplicate, re-sell, digitize, and reproduce in any other form (print, digital or electric) or commercially apply, embed, share, Email, or redistribution in any other means. Use of any of the above is prohibited without the written permission of Debbie Bohringer.

Copyright © 2004 -2018 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Debbie Bohringer of Rock Garden Alpacas, and Rock Garden Alpacas Fiber. Debbie is an alpaca farmer.  Please visit her Rock Garden Alpacas Fiber Etsy Shoppe at https://www.etsy.com/shop/RockGardenAlpacas

Monday, April 2, 2018

TUTORIAL - GRADIENT DYEING A SKEIN OF YARN IN A CROCKPOT

 

I have gradient dyed a yarn "cake" and a yarn ball and now I wanted to try gradient dyeing a skein of yarn in the crockpot.

This is one of my preferred methods of dyeing my alpaca fiber; either in a crockpot or the microwave. I have both that are only for the purpose of dyeing. Any utensils or items you use for dyeing should not be used for anything else.

I started with a dry skein of yarn. If the skein is twisted - untwist it and check where it is tied together. If the ties are too tight then retie them so they are a bit looser. If the skein is tied in 4 places then remove 2 of the ties. If the tie is too tight then the dye will not penetrate and you will have white spots. Now loosely twist each skein back together until it twists onto itself, then tie the two ends together.


 


I decided to do two crockpots with 2 skeins of my 200 yd fingering weight alpaca yarn in each; one crockpot was going to have pink dye and the other yellow.

Water mixed with vinegar had been heating on high in the crockpots for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. I filled the crockpots between 1/2 - 3/4 full and added about a 1/4 cup of vinegar.

My choice of dye for my alpaca fiber is usually professional acid based dyes such as Jacquard or Country Classics with vinegar as the mordant. When doing just 1or 2 small skeins very little dye is needed. I have a “just a pinch” measuring spoon that I like to use and because I was using light colors I added a full spoonful directly into each crockpot. Mix according to the dye directions for the type of dye you have. If not using animal fiber yarn then make sure you are using the correct dye for the material you are using.

You should wear some plastic gloves whenever using dye. If you are concerned about chemicals in the dye then a mask would also be recommended.


 

I took the dry skeins of yarn and submerged them into the crockpots. You will have to hold them down in the water with a pair of tongs until they stay fully submerged. 


 


 

Once submerged put the cover on the crockpots and check in a hour. The dye is fully exhausted when the water is clear. This usually takes 1-2 hours on high for the lighter dyes and 2-4 hours longer for darker dyes. If the dye has not exhausted in 2 hours then add a splash of vinegar and continue for another hour or longer in the case of darker dyes.

Once the water is clear, using tongs - remove the skeins from the crockpot but do not shut the crockpot off. Once cool enough to handle, gently squeeze out excess water from the skein (you can squeeze it over the crockpot so the water goes back into it). Untie where you tied the two ends together and untwist the skein of yarn so that it is open.

Add about a 1/4 cup more vinegar to the water in the crockpot and then mix in just a very small amount of the same color dye used earlier. I wanted the color to be a much lighter shade of the original color. Now place the skein back into the water until submerged, put the cover on the crockpot and give it another 1 -2 hours on high just as before. (I have repeated the same with the pink)


 

 

 


Once the dye is exhausted in the crockpot then shut it off and leave the lid slightly ajar and let the whole thing cool overnight. Be patient it is worth it!

I am a firm believer that the longer the dye sits the better it sets. Plus it will continue to exhaust any residual dye that may be in the pot and will make it easier to rinse in cold water in the morning, without any worries about varying temps and felting. 

In the morning I took the skein out of the crockpots – gently squeezing out excess water. I then placed them in a cold water bath with soap (I use Dawn dish soap) and then rinsed them under cold running water. Do not agitate - just rinse and lightly squeeze out the water.


 


 


 

Once rinsed wrap the skein in an old towel to absorb any excess water and then unwrap and hang to dry.

I love how these came out!!


 

I hope this tutorial was a help should you decide to try dyeing fiber and I hope you enjoy dyeing your own fibers as much as I do!!

Shop my Rock Garden Alpacas Etsy Store for fibers, rovings, yarns, handmade items and much more!

Please respect My Terms of Use:  Copyright © 2004 -2018 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Debbie Bohringer  All rights reserved. Tutorials, how-to's, articles and other e-products are for personal use only. You may not modify, photocopy, download, upload, post, transmit, display, perform, publish, license, reprint, create derivative works from, mass duplicate, re-sell, digitize, and reproduce in any other form (print, digital or electric) or commercially apply, embed, share, Email, or redistribution in any other means. Use of any of the above is prohibited without the written permission of Debbie Bohringer.

Copyright © 2004 -2018 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Debbie Bohringer of Rock Garden Alpacas, and Rock Garden Alpacas Fiber. Debbie is an alpaca farmer.  Please visit her Rock Garden Alpacas Fiber Etsy Shoppe at https://www.etsy.com/shop/RockGardenAlpacas