Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Experimental Dyeing

A few weeks ago I started to experiment with dyeing yarn. I've done a lot of cold procion dyeing before but it's been ages since I've considered hot dyeing with acid dyes for wool - not since college and that's going back a bit now!!

So when I did the printing workshop last summer, and had to use acid and direct dyes, it reminded me how much I liked dyeing and layering colour. I began to look at how I could use this in my work - dyeing, yarn, fabric, embroidery threads, fleece.... Imagine spinning all those yummy colours! Too many plans, not enough time!

As I've been into hand knit recently, I thought more about dyeing yarn for me to knit with! I started with techniques I'm more familiar with so I dip dyed and space dyed several hanks of 100% merino DK with one hank of 2 ply silk (pink one above). The silk just loves the acid dyes but I was a bit disappointed with the lack of colour intensity in the wool - especially when the acid dye is meant to work especially well with it. I'm sure I used the right amount of dye and white vinegar but some have that white cast you get with cold dyes. I even remembered to prewash to get rid of any grease or remaining lanolin that would act as a barrier.... Am I just being picky? I've seen lots of hand painted skeins online that are much more intense in colour and that is what I am aiming for:-(

The next task is to hand paint rather than dip or space dye - microwave at the ready! Maybe I will get better colour retention? You can see in this grey/purple skein that I kind of overdyed it to saturation point, but I do like the subtle hues too. In fact I think this would look lovely as a Gretel Beret(another Ysolda pattern that I haven't managed to start yet!)

All I need to do now is make sure I do enough of one colour for the pattern! Well, back to the drawing board - I'll let you know how the hand painted hanks turn out.

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Hello and thanks for stopping by. Do stay a while and visit. Please do leave a comment - I'd love to hear from you and be inspired by all your blogs out there too:-) elaine xx


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