Help for first time dyer!
  • Hello : )

    This is my absolute first experience with dyeing. I am a long time knitter and my nephew wants a "totally orange" sweater. I was unable to find orange yarn suitable for the project, so I decided to buy bare wool at knitpicks.com and some jacquard dye in the Burnt Orange colour.

    I looked at their tutorial:

    http://www.knitpicks.com/images/pdf/jacquarddye_tutorial.pdf

    The colour of their Burnt Orange is exactly what I am hoping for and I would like the yarn to come out with variations in colour the way the yarn in the pdf did, I am looking for pointers on how to do this, as opposed to getting a totally uniform orange.

    Also, any recommendations on whether to dye all the yarn at once for uniformity, or just make notes and dye in batches in case I hate the colour from the first batch, and thus can make changes for the next batches.

    Thank you in advance for any, and all, help.

    I wish you well,

    Bridget
  • Hi Bridget,

    Way to take charge of your knitting!
    The tutorial at Knitpicks is pretty much right on. The one thing I'd do differently is predissolve your dye powder in a cup or so of very hot water, add that to a cool dye bath, add your well wetted yarn to the cool dye bath, and then slowly bring the temperature up to simmer. Once at simmer move the yarn to one side or momentarly lift it out of the bath and add the vinegar. Then resubmerge the yarn and maintain the temp as suggested in the Knitpicks tutorial.
    Once you've exhausted the dye bath (the water goes clear) or you've reach 1/2 hour you should turn the heat off and let the yarn sit in the bath until the entire bath has cooled to a temp you can handle (safely)with gloved hands. At this point you will want to gently rinse the yarn, being sure that the water you use to rinse with is near the temperature of the yarn just out of the dye bath. The easiest way I've found to rinse yarn is in a plastic tub in the basin, water running into, over rim and out while gently swishing the yarn about. When the rinse water is clear you can then proceed as suggested at the Knitpicks site. All this care around temperature is about reducing the possiblility of shocking or felting the yarn.
    As for duplicating the results they show - adding the yarn and not moving it around in the dye bath will give you some variation of color, the tighter the yarn to water ratio, the more variation you'll get (generally speaking).
    To the question of doing a 'test' skein vs all at once - if you've a spare skein of yard I'd say sure, try some test dyeing. But, if not, then you are probably better off dyeing the whole lot at once. If you are worried about depth of color then you might want to reduce the amount of dye you are using. Erring to the side of caution with dyes means starting light (you can always add more color - taking it out is less easy)
    I hope this all helps. If you have any other questions just let us know.
    anet
  • Thank you so much Anet.

    I posted this before I left work on Friday, got home, our internet was down the whole weekend, but I wanted to have the sweater done before he arrives next Sunday, so I went ahead and just did it. I did a bunch of things wrong, added the yarn to simmering water, didn't let it cool down before rinsing it out. The pot I had was only large enough to do 2 skeins at a time. I am pleased with the results mostly. I did get a lot of colour variation and prefer the mid-tones of the colour to the deep tones. The deep tones look almost reddish, instead of orange, but there is enough variation that the overall effect is orange. I didn't *quite* have enough dye, so on the last skein where the yarn was tied together it's is really, really light orange there, but much, much deeper where the yarn could swish around. On the other skein I took a glass and mixed dye and water and vinegar and just poured a little over the very light spots, but ran out for the final skein, I will have to see how that works into the sweater.

    Thank you for answering my questions!

    I wish you well,

    Bridget
  • 'morning Bridget,

    I'm glad to hear all worked out suitably well. It sounds as if you are fairly pleased with the results and I hope as you knit the project you'll find the variations work into an overall acceptable blend of color.
    --and my goodness, a sweater by Sunday! you are amazing.
    Best to you.
    Anet