Sunday, 20 June 2010

Dippidy Do Dye

Remember this skein from this post??

I wasn't completely satisfied with the almost flourescent orange of this skein, so last weekend i decided to do an over-dye using more red food colouring (a lot of it). Although i didn't want the full skein coral, i liked it so i decided to try and do a graded over-dye.

I began by thinking i might buy some kool aid off ebay to get a more reliable colour, but the price was too much, especially when i knew i had some red food colouring sat at home and that there MUST be a way of getting a better red. Turns out there is and it was all in the method.

The skein above was dyed using a "cold pour" method. The benefit of cold pour dyeing is that you can have more than one or two colours and you can paint them exactly where you want them.

Dip dyeing is a slower process and the dye is taken into the yarn more slowly, allowing you to get graded colours or semi-solids which i think are more flexible for sock knitting. I decided to use this method, steeping the yarn in a hot (but not boiling) pan of water/dye/acid mix until the yarn has absorbed the colour.

In my excitement of carrying out the process, this is the only picture i took (hah):

So you might need to use your imagination a bit.

One thing i was having a problem with during the cold pour dyeing was that the dye was sticking too quickly, causing a heathering which i'm not a massive fan of. I figured this was due to the amount of vinegar i was using (more vinegar = sticky colour) so this time i soaked the skein in plain water overnight.

I didn't use too much vinegar in the dye vat, only about 175ml in a 1500ml of water and 1 level tsp of wilton colour gel (first dissolved in a small amount of boiling water). I brought the liquid up to just below boiling point and held it there.

I dipped the skein in quickly, holding the top and then pulled a short length out and rested it in the tray (i actually stood the tray on another pan after the first 15 mins to raise it higher as it began siphoning the water out of the dye pan). I kept pulling lengths of 1 - 2 inches of the skein out of the pan every 20 minutes until it came to the last 3-4 inches and then i added some more dye and let it simmer for another 40 mins to soak up as much dye as possible and get the colour as dark as possible.

The result was this:

I'm pretty happy. It's not a world away but there's more definite red in there. I think i'm ready to begin some new socks. I just have to try and finish my Garn Drops Delight Hedgerow socks first though. They are draaaagging.


  1. Even without photos, this was great information, and the yarn turned out lovely! One day, I'm going to try this.

  2. @Snowcatcher
    Definitely try it, but be careful, it's addictive :D


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