Dyeing Experiments

Sometimes when I spend too much time online I end up idly looking though things that I normally wouldn’t. And perhaps shouldn’t. Especially when I’m on a yarn buying ban.

However, the last lot of idle browsing I did was on some Ravelry groups.  I love the enormous variety of groups on Ravelry, it seems like there is a group for everyone, and if there’s not, you can just go ahead and make one 🙂 The groups I was browsing were dyeing groups:  Love to Dye and Colour by Hand (yes, the correct  British spelling of colour was used in the group’s name!) Awesome groups, totally gorgeous project pics, and heaps of interesting ideas for dyeing.

But you can totally see where this is headed though, eh! The dyepot!

What I wanted to play around with was some new techniques for dyeing semisolid colours. I have used a few techniques with success already, but am always keen to try some other methods.

The first yarn I chose was some 5ply yarn Mum donated to me earlier this year. It’s  100% wool and I had about 110g of it. I skeined it up and instead of soaking it put it straight into the dyepot with some vinegar. Because soaking opens up the fibres, thus speeding up dyeing and absorption, and I wanted to slow it down, it seemed  like a good idea. And it worked a treat.

I mixed up some dye – National Blue colour acid dye, and put some already diluted into water to dilute it even further. Then I poured some directly onto some of the yarn (lifting it up out of the water) in several places, and put the rest into the dyepot. Once that was clear I had already a very light semisolid blue. I added more dye to the dilute mixture and poured more dye over the yarn in more spots. I repeated this twice more, making the dye more concentrated each time. Once the water was clear I cooled the yarn down, rinsed and dried it. And this is what it looks like reskeined.

Picture 2743

I am really impressed with this – I love the variety of intensities of blue, and this technique was waaaaay less messy than painting the dye on to the yarn and then kettle dyeing it.

So, of course I had to try with more yarn! And more colours…

The only things I varied this second time was that I used three different colours: a purple, salmon and boysenberry. I used two different strengths of purple first, and then the other two colours. It’s a shame I only have 50g of this 8 ply yarn, as I am not sure what I will make with it.

Picture 2746

The other shame is that I don’t have much undyed yarn left to experiment on. This has really whetted my appetite for dyeing, but alas I have to be good!

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11 Responses to “Dyeing Experiments”


  1. 1 Hannah August 14, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Oh My!!!! those are beautiful Sheryl!

  2. 2 Libby August 14, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    pretty – thanks for sharing your technique, one day when I get some time I might give this a go.

  3. 3 Kelly August 14, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Lovely lovely experiments 🙂 Bet you can’t wait to get your hands on some white for dyeing now!

  4. 4 Heather August 14, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    You’ve done an amazing job. Oh. My. Word! I should see if I have any natural yarn that I can send your way so that you can play some more. Beautiful job!

  5. 5 Amybel August 15, 2009 at 1:02 am

    I agree with H. Wish we lived closer. I have about 800g of yarn “dyeing” to be dyed! I’m not brave enough to try it. Don’t know why. The yarn isn’t going to do anything the way it is, you know?

    • 6 shortly24 August 15, 2009 at 7:13 am

      Too true! I would love to have a dyeing day with you and Heather, but distance is a weeee bit of a problem! My problem stems from the fact I’ve got the money to buy, but am on a ban! I am struggling with temptation. I have a few odds and ends I can dye, and 150g of sock yarn, and that’s it, although I’ve got 400g of the yellow merino/silk put away for another sweater project I *could* dye if I really got antsy.

  6. 7 tikki August 15, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    oh Wow! they both look fantastic!!!
    i love love love the blue, I’m ow itching to try your technique.

    the purple/pink would be cute as a mini foliage 🙂

  7. 8 hoaenz August 16, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    GORGEOUS!!!!!!

    I have some yarn I be really HAPPY for you to dye if you are really desperate! That same merino/silk yellow and enough for an adult jumper. ;->

  8. 9 KJ August 18, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    WOW that blue is just stunning, LOVE IT!!

  9. 10 neak August 18, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    WOW those are seriously YUMMY! well done 🙂

  10. 11 nova August 19, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    luffly!! heh those two groups are a killer if you’re short on time & value a clean house! 😉


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