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Hand dyeing yarns and the practice and the practice of detachment!

Hand dyed yarn have always caught my eye. The unusual color harmonies of some artists make me open my mind and leave the limiting standard opinion of “like” or “hate”!When I look at a thread and the immediate reaction to the color is “love” or “hate”, I stop for a second and try to relax and break free from that impression. And when I am successful … haa …. freedom! I leave the imprisonment of the aesthetics and let in the new which is always fun!

“Colors, Like features, follow the changes of the emotions.” Pablo Picasso

To have fun and increase my practice, I am taking the first steps on dyeing yarn! This experiment is based on tips and tutorials from generous people and I do not claim it to be correct and accurate! It’s just a homemade experiment inexpensive and fun!

I’m a fan of brazilian cotton yarn and I opted for Anne from Círculo – 100% mercerized cotton in white with 500m (average price of $ 3 per ball). The colors white, off white, beige and pale and the like are good for dyeing.

The dye used was the brazilian Tingecor, suitable for cotton yarn. In a dealer’s site found a table of pigment mixtures for greater variety of colors. As I was aiming for an intense color, I respected the proportionality of the two colors (colors 9:25) suitable for a more striking purple, but increased the amount of pigment. Maybe that’s why the end result was a shade of wine! ops .

For the technique of dyeing I chose, the yarn should be accommodated in skeins. As the Anne yarn comes in ball, I had to prepare it for this and used the accessory that was in hand: two chairs in the living room!

Tying the yarn in four points along the skein (without being too symmetrical, lol) facilitates handling during the dyeing. Why 4? Two moorings were not sufficient to hold together all the threads and more moorings can mark the other end of the process. But this is not an absolute rule! Maybe next use three moorings?!

Then soak the skein is a mixture of water and vinegar. The yarn saturated with water facilitates the process (and remove any impurities) and vinegar (which was also used at other times of dyeing) prepare / set the thread to better receive the pigment. The amount of vinegar was intuitive! I’ve put three tablespoons into a pot with a capacity of 1.5 lt, as follows: filled the pot with water to about half, added the vinegar mixture; settled the threads carefully, already thinking of how to remove it. Completed with water to fully cover the yarn

From what I’ve experienced, the more saturated the yarn is, the better your performance in the dyeing will be. So the minimum time would be between 2 and 3 hours to soak in mixture of vinegar and water. If I am busy with other things this time could be much higher and that’s why I keep the  lid on the pot. The preparation may take a day or two after dyeing happens … so the lid protects and slows a little the evaporation.

Now comes the big moment! Agate pot and electric stove ready to start dyeing! According to the research on the subject, it is important that the container is heated uniformly and remains so during the process, hence the suggestion for that”equipment”! But it is not an absolute truth! A few days ago I spoke informally with a professional about the subject and she suggested  me that stainless steel pot is also good! I will definitely try next time!

In this experiment, the idea was an intense and uniform staining of one color. So the process is relatively simple and the whole skein is dyed at once.

Transferred the skein to a colander and quickly put the pot on the stove with water plus 3 tablespoons of vinegar. With the warm water, I added the pigments to the mix and dissolved them, I put the skein in the pot, taking care for it to be completely covered.

The manual suggests 30 minutes of the pigment in the heat. During this time, with two big wooden picks, I tried to move and accommodate the yarn into the mix. At the end of the allotted time the water will becomes transparent.

Once again the skein goes to the colander! Do not squeeze the yarn, just let it flow naturally while preparing the material for the next step. Line a baking dish with polyester film (those suitable for barbecue) and settle the skein, still very wet. In a container I mixed approximately 300ml of water and nine tablespoons of vinegar, and poured it over the skein. Then I’ve covered it with the film and put in the microwave for 5 minutes intervals for 1 minute pause.

For the last time, I drained the skein on the colander and then stretched it on a dark color  towel, pressing gently to remove some more of the excess water. The last step was to hang the skein in the clothes dryer in the shade, until the complete drying!

Please do not be alarmed by the smell of vinegar! When the yarn dries, most of the stench will go away!

I recommend to everyone! It’s a lot of fun! And good training for future dyes, even more challenging!

Peace, Knit & Love as much as you can!


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