Monthly Archives: September 2014

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Renegade Dyeing

It was a quiet and dreary day in the house yesterday and I decided to play around with some colour. I had a blank Briggs & Little Softspun hank begging to be jazzed up – blank yarn burns a hole in my yarn stash like money in a pocket. I had no real plan in mind for a colour scheme this time and decided to go renegade and not worry about being too precise.

I found some PAAS Easter Egg dyes that I bought a couple of years back (note to self, always make the effort to go shopping the day after Easter when the dyes are on sale because $1.99 for wool dye is awesome). I had a full rainbow of colours in the pack.


I followed the same tutorial as I did for the Pink Lemonade Hand-Painted yarn. I soaked the skein in vinegar for 30 minutes (next note to self – next time give it a wash first to help it absorb the colour).

I couldn’t decide on which colours to use. Originally I was planning on blue and purple and possibly green. I mixed those up by dissolving the tablets in vinegar, and then decided to try four colours because I haven’t done that before, so I thought maybe orange. Except when the orange tablet went in I realized it was yellow. I really wanted orange – I was thinking maybe Hallowe’en colours – so I threw the orange in with the yellow.

That left the poor red dye tablet sitting there all alone and it seemed kind of dumb to hang on to it. I knew from a previous dyeing experience that the purple colour was likely to break (separate into its component colours) once it was on the yarn so I figured what the hell and threw the red in with the purple to see what would happen.


The purple started to break almost as soon as I poured it on the yarn – see how it’s pinkish around the edges? Clearly if I was going for a nice even purple this would be a bad thing, but I kind of like the look when I’m just going for something fun.

Purple and Blue

I poured on the remaining colours. In a moment of inspiration it occurred to me that with two tablets in the orange pot, I could increase the liquid and dye more yarn. Which is why there’s a big stretch of the yellow/orange.

All the colours

I microwaved it.


I let it sit till it was cool (this is HARD) and then rinsed it off to take out the loose left-over dye. Check out the purple now – really broken.


I let it dry overnight and got some pictures this morning in better light. I’m kind of in love. It looks very tie-dyed with some really vivid colours – it reminds me of a Crayola Watercolours box.

Full skein

The purple



I think I’m reaching the end of what I can do in terms of dyeing with my current equipment and methods. I love food-grade dyeing and I’ll likely continue with that (haven’t used food colouring yet, for example) but I’d like to start playing with some acid dyes. And I need a better method for heating the yarn, or I need to re-skein the yarn (I need a Niddy Noddy) so that it’s not touching itself. I’d like to be able to dye two skeins at once because longies usually require more than one skein, but that’s not going to work with my current equipment. I have research to do…

Sun-Dyed Yarn

Last Friday we hit 30C (around 86F) – for September that’s pretty warm – and I figured it was likely the last day this year I could try sun-dyeing.

I’ve read about it before and we saw it when we visited Avonlea Village in PEI this summer – they used blue Kool-Aid. I’d never tried it, although there’s really not much to it. Dye needs heat to bond to the yarn – typically I use the microwave for hand-painting, or the crockpot for kettle dyeing. I essentially did kettle-dyeing using the sun as the heat source.

Wool Dyeing with Mrs. Lynde

Wool Dyeing with Mrs. Lynde

This is quite possibly the easiest dyeing I’ve ever done.

I washed the yarn (Briggs & Little Softspun – my go-to for affordable, toddler-worthy yarn). I put it in a bowl of water. I put the bowl outside.


I sprinkled Strawberry Kool-Aid over it. (Is it me or does this look like a Hallowe’en decoration??)


I let it get warm. I chased the sun around the front yard. I checked on it.


Results? Not as intense as crock-pot dyeing, and I think the dye would have taken better if it had been outside longer and got warmer. I started at around 11:30 – I should have started first thing in the morning. I ended up zapping the bowl of water in the microwave at the end of the day to finish it off and clear the dye bath.


The yarn looks nice though – more of a pale pink with a hint of coral. It’s tonal rather than solid – some places are darker than others. That was purposeful – I sprinkled the Kool-Aid on top rather than mixing it in to get a tie-dyed look.

I’m more or less pinked-out now – I’ve done a lot lately. I’m listing the yarn – there’s enough for hats/mitts/a soaker/smaller longies. I’m guessing this is the only sun-dyeing I’ll do this year… the weather is cooling off rapidly.