Sunday, January 20, 2008

technicolour yarn


yarn
Originally uploaded by baprime
Here are the fruits of yesterday's labour! Dying the yarn was lots of fun, although my hands didn't get stained like I thought. I started by weighing out skeins in amounts to make one outfit - 20g for the sport weight, and 25g for the worsted weight. I then soaked it for a couple hours before dying. I have food colouring in yellow, red, and blue (concentrated paste form, not the liquid drop stuff you get in the grocery store) and found citric acid at the drug store. I was kind of surprised to actually find it, albeit in a small bottle, although they have even stranger stuff on the same shelf.

Anyway, I mixed up the colours I wanted in microwaveable plastic tubs. It took about 1/4 tsp of dye and 1/2 tsp of citric acid per 3 cups water, although I was just guessing at the amount of citric acid and probably used more than I needed. I had to dissolve the dye in a couple tbsp of water first, which made it difficult to see what colour it actually was. I painted a bit on some paper to get a better idea, and wrote down how much of each colour I used.

Then I added a skein of yarn, and microwaved it until the yarn had absorbed all the dye. I did this 3 min at a time, stirring in between. The lighter colours only took about 6 min, the darker ones more like 15 min. Then I placed the tub in a sink of cold water to cool the yarn, before rinsing it and hanging it to dry.

I'm really pleased with the colours I got. My first try turned out a little more green than I intended (this is the turquoise skein) because I forgot to compensate for the yarn being natural cream instead of bleached white. You can't tell from the photo, but the yarn turned out slightly heathered, which I really like. I have no idea why this happened, but I think it will give the toys' clothes a more rustic, old-fashioned look, which is totally appropriate for where they will be sold.

This isn't really meant as a tutorial on dying yarn, since there are plenty out there written by people much more experienced than me. This is more like a way to encourage you to try it yourself, just because it's fun, doesn't cost much, and involves yarn!

2 comments:

dilu said...

That's awesome! I didn't know we can use food coloring! How did you get the paste? Dose the color last?

I heart dyeing yarn!!! I will certainly try this sooner or later!

It may not be a tutorial, but you have been descriptive enough so that pretty much anyone can try it! Good work!

Barbara Prime said...

I had been thinking about food colouring for a while, because that's what's in kool-aid. You do need the citric acid for it to work, though. None of the dye came out when I rinsed the yarn, so I'm pretty sure the colour is permanent.

You can find the paste food colouring at pastry-making supply shops (don't know what they would be called in French). What I have came from a shop called Papillon in Pointe Claire.