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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.

SunnyStrawberry_blank

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

SunnyStrawberry_dye

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

SunnyStrawberry_warming

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.

SunnyStrawberry_tonal

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.

Bloomers!

Most of the pieces I do are custom requests, but I also enjoy doing a few pieces as Ready To Ship. These bloomers are the latest.

Pink Shells

They’re knit with soft baby pink merino and a darker pink merino-blend. I tried a different striping technique on these with a staggered transition. The legs have a loose rib and a crochet shell edging.

I made the bloomers to match a cute little t-shirt (3 mos) I picked up at Carter’s on clearance (the tshirt is included). They’re a size small. The measurements are:

Hip: 16″ unstretched
Rise: 15.5″
Inseam: 1.75″

You can find these listed in the catalogue. Or on Etsy.

They have been washed in Eucalan, and I can lanolize these for you at no extra charge before shipping out!

Pink Shells 3

With t-shirt

Shell edging

The shell edging

Dye Job

I’ve been dyeing yarn in the crock pot for a couple of years now, on and off. I enjoy it, and I love the tie-dyed effect, but new skills are great, and I knew that hand-painting would give me a more predictable result in terms of colour placement. Also, it gives me the flexibility to dye more than one skein at a time, which is tricky in the crock pot.

Here’s my first attempt. There are plenty of tutorials out there; I used this one.

I used Easter Egg tablets – they’re typically on sale the day after Easter so I grabbed a box.

The Dye

The yarn was a single skein of natural Cascade 220 – a decent 100% wool. I soaked it in a vinegar/water solution for a while and then laid it in my pyrex dish.

Yarn Blank

I dissolved the tablets in vinegar per the dye instructions and then put them in squeezy bottles (I forgot to take a picture of this step). I picked up a set of three barbecue condiment bottles last year for that purpose. I squeezed the dye solution on three areas of the yarn and squished it in with gloved hands to make sure that it was saturated. Then I transferred the yarn to a smaller microwaveable dish with a lid and zapped it.

Ready for heating

Zap

After it was cool (it was REALLY hard to wait to take the lid off!) it looked really vibrant and I love that the colours are so defined.

Hank_Dry

Hank_Skeined1

Wound

I’ll definitely be doing this again with new colour combinations. I will try some food colouring next, and then I think I’ll take the plunge and buy some commercial dyes. This skein is enough for a skirtie, shorties, newborn longies, a hat…

Edited to add! Here’s the skirtie that I made with this yarn… it’s available now in the shop:

Pink Lemonade