Friday, April 27, 2007

Well, this started out as a comment....

I started this as a comment to Jana's post and question about dyeing turquoise and color bleeding, but my response got wordy and loooong, so not it's a post! Anyways....

Some colors may take 2 dye jobs to get just the right color, especially with very deep saturated colors and take a lot of patience. I'm going to assume that you're using the premixed turquoise color. I haven't used it, but heard that it is a slightly more challenging color. You can try a few things, which I've detailed below. It sounds like you've dyed a bit already before, but I'm not sure what your primary/common methods are. So to be on the safe side (and for anyone who hasn't done much dyeing), I'm going to include all the very basic instructions and explanations here:
  1. You may be putting in too much dye power per wool ratio. (?) It's also best to dissolve yor dyes in hot water. Some reds and blues get gelatinous and end up being too thick. When it gets thick like that, you may end up with gloopy bits to your yarn that ends up being excess dyes that bleed out. ProChem suggests adding Urea as an anti-coagulant. Urea is generally used as a wetting agent. I use it for reactive dyes. Urea helps your fiber stay wetter and helps you get brighter colors. Not everyone has urea, or want to smell it, so I'd try the other alternatives if you don't have urea.
  2. Mix your own turquoise with yellow and blue. If you have green on hand, it might be easier to use that as a base, and then just add blue and/or yellow to get the desired shade. To test the color, just dab your stir stick on a paper towel.
  3. Try submitting your yarn to a 2nd dye job or overdye it.
  4. Apply a dye fixative to your yarns after you dye. I like and use this one for my cellulose fibers. Just make sure you rinse your yarn before soaking it in the fixative.
  5. If you do the saran wrap painting and seaming method, try dyeing/painting on the stove. If you've already tried the stovetop method, try it with salt. and add some non-iodized salt to your dye bath.
    • Put your yarn in a dye pot with water on the stove (enough to cover yarn but not too much). I don't always presoak, because I like that not all the dyes take up at the same rate. If you want a more even color, then presoak the yarn.
    • Mix in some vinegar or citric acid and salt. I actually prefer citric acid because you can get a deeper color with it than vinegar, and of course, there's no odor. You want your water hot, but a below boiling.
    • Mix your color in a cup with warm water and a little bit of acid. Adding acid to both your water bath and the dye mix helps control the dye and will prevent/limit the dispersion in the water. Doing this will allow you to paint many colors at the same time without the hassle and mess of the saran wrap method (now, if you want a lot of control, like getting a different color every stitch, then I'd use the saran wrap method).
    • Using a bent spoon, squirt bottle, paintbrush, or whatever you use to apply the dye, put the dye the spots where you want the color to be. Don't touch it or mess with it too much (or the dye may go where you don't want it to go) and wait until your water turns clear. Remember not to let your water boil.
Good luck! I hope at least one of these helps. If you've already tried all of these already, sorry, I have no other suggestions.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

question about unwanted discharge

Hi all, I have a question about how to get some troublesome colors to fully-set so there is zero discharge during a soak/wash. I love to use fully saturated colors and I've noticed that for some of my colors, like turquoise, no matter how much acidity I use, and no matter how long I do a "steam set", there is always a little bleed-out during a wash.

Is this common and expected with bold colors? Or should I stop using this troublesome dye (I really like the color)?

thanks! Jana

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Peacock silk bell

I just finished painting a 1 oz silk bell for my swap partner, and I'm doing some cashmere roving this afternoon. I already sent her one package of yarn with commerical stuff as well as mine, but this package is all by me :-)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Spinning Tales

Alright, I've spun up the roving snafoo. I've blogged it and added other photos in a post on my regular blog. I will definitely have to dye some new roving for my secret pal. Let's just hope that I end up with roving that is giftable this time!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

dyeing to write

I finally dyed the yarn for me secret partner. It was very exciting. The first time I tried to make something "self - striping"
I can't wait to send it when it is dry. Will also sent commercially dyed yarn in case.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

too many ideas

Maybe it's just that I'm still keyed up from the marathon tax session that culminated in my eFiling at 12:32 a.m. (just a half-hour past the deadline; I don't think they'll care). Or maybe it's that spring has finally reached this place and the snow is going fast.

Either way, I've got a million ideas of possible dyeing projects all competing in my head. So, I'm wondering what other people have decided to do?

Will you be dying yarn or roving? Overdyeing fabric? Dyeing paper or other stuff? Do you plan to make something of the yarn (or whatever) after you dye it -- or will you send it as grist for your pal's creativity? And will you be sending only stuff you dyed yourself -- or as a failsafe sending a few boughten dyed goodies?

I need to put down this cup of coffee now and get over the jitters. Perfect time for some meditative knitting.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Dyeing Books

Dyeing to Knit by Elaine Eskesen. The book is fairly well-put together and features some very nice pictures. I can't honestly say that I read the book from cover to cover, let alone the majority of it. I only read parts that caught my eye, such as the section on overdyeing and experimental dyeing on pages 46-47. The "Design Phase" section of the book is also very inspiring. She talks about taking colors from art and nature into your handpainted yarns. This is illustrated by a snapshot of a garden and a swatch of yarn she painted based on the colorways of the snapshot (p. 67)

The Fabric & Yarn Dyer's Handbook by Tracy Kendall. I love this book -- it is well organized and has fantasitic inspirational photos. I wouldn't say that it's wholly comprehensive, but the book covers a little of everything to do with dyeing. The first part of the book discusses different techniques for dyeing fabric and yarn, stenciling, marbeling, monoprinting, color stripping, wax printing, etc. The latter part of the book features various dye and painting recipes for yarn and fabric, including some natural dye methods. Although I know I'm not going to be dyeing most of the things in the book, I just love the photos of the projects she featured. The recipe section also has color coded tabs indicating which fibers would be appropriate for the recipe, and there are also key symbols for each recipe indicating processing time, precautions for the different levels toxicity for all the various dye methods, how the fabric is processed (i.e. heat, steam). I have seen this at many Half Price Books stores before. I think I bought mine off of

Dye Powders. Wovengold - to answer your question: Yes, I have used ProChem's WashFast Acid dyes. They work wonderfully and give you nice rich colors.

I use the Jacquard dyes as well. I can't say which one I prefer. I've never done a side by side comparison of the WashFast and Jacquard dyes before. I use them both and I do mix them with one another. I mainly use and purchase primary and/or CYMK colors and then mix them to get the color I want. (Well.. except I got tired of mixing for brown, so I broke down and bought an 8oz jar of ProChem's brown.)

If you are interested in trying WashFast dyes, ProChem does offer a variety of starter kits (scroll down) in many color combinations. After we decided to move beyond KoolAid, Zona and I took a dye class where we were introduced to the WashFast dyes via a starter kit. If your LYS doesn't sell WashFast, you can order directly from the company through their website. I order my Jacquard Acid dyes and my fiber reactive dyes from Dharma Trading.

Instruction Sheets
From Dharma on Acid dyeing: here
From Dharma on vat dyeing with Reactive dyes: here
From ProChem on handpainting with Acid dyes: here
From ProChem on 2 color gradation Reactive dyeing: here
ProChem's instruction index page: here

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Dyeing to Knit

You know I've seen that book but I've never read it. If you liked it, maybe I should give it a try!

I've been dyeing wool with Jacquard acid dyes. I don't know if they are recommended in the book or not, but for the most part I've been happy with Jacquard. Some of the colors are disappointing, most are great. It's totally trial and error. Before I order and try out the dye color I have no idea if it is a "winner" or not.

Dyeing to Knit

Has anybody else here read/used Dyeing to Knit by Elaine Eskesen? I love it, not only the parts about dyeing procedures (where I learned a lot), but also seeing the author's dyed yarn choices turned into swatches by different knitters.

This is the first crafty "how to" book I've ever read cover to cover. It might be because I was stuck in a waiting room for a long time yesterday, but I think I would have read it all the way thru even if it had just been on my bedside table.

Also wondering if anybody has used the WashFast acid dyes Eskesen recommends? If so, what do you think?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Inspiration abound

Even if you're not a spinner, this is a spectacular photo group to browse for inspiration and ideas. I'm always astonished at the color combos that people come up with and what can be done with an already beautiful yarn made into something gorgious.

Happy Wednesday!


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I suck at dyeing roving

I'm pretty good and intuitive with color. I can pretty much mix any color with the primaries: red, blue, yellow and/or the light palette: cyan, magenta, yellow. Zona can probably attest to that, since she has been over to my house for a few of our "Wine, Dye & Knit" parties. I can even get color changes when dyeing cellulose fibers. I still will not say I'm expert, not until I learn and master natural dyes (probably never get to it!), but I will say that I don't do a shabby job. Alas, not so with roving.

I found out that I suck at dyeing roving. I've dyed roving one other time. It was a small amount for needle felting, so I didn't care really how it turned out, but it was what I wanted, so I ended up being over-confident when I dyed 2 days ago. I needed to dye a commissioned project and wanted to dye for both my SP10 and Dye-No-Mite pals. My yarns turned out great. I then decided to dye some roving, some for one of the pals, and some for myself (My friend is letting me borrow her wheel for 2-3 months!). According to the roving dye master Zona, roving is easy peasy and sucks up dye like nothing else. Not for me. It took forever. It didn't help that I was using reds, oranges, and fuschias. I used those same colors for my yarns and the yarns turned ou great. I could not get color saturation with the roving though, despite having tossed in some synthrapol to help with the lanolin. In the end, I decided not to aim for the rich color I envisioned, for fear of felting the roving, which it kinda did and I ended up with salmon-ish and pink-orangish colors.

I wanted more deep bright colors like these:

and then add some hints of cool tones and rusty tones.

Maybe I'll try again in a couple of weeks. I'm planning to dye cellulose fibers next.

Just poking my head in...

to say hello. Unfortuately, I'm blogless (where's the time?) so hope to be able to come here to hear a bit about what people are thinking/doing. Haven't decided entirely myself, yet, but have been in contact with my pal (and have been contacted). Gotta get going!

Monday, April 9, 2007

more dyeing resources

I've had great success getting info on dyeing from here - there's a section dedicated to dyeing towards the bottom of the page.

Hello everyone!

Jana @ whiteoakstudio

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Dyeing Forums

Maybe I'm way behind on my perusing of Craftster, but I just noticed that they finally created a new section for dyeing here. It looks like the moderators already scanned and moved some of the dye-related posts here.

Also, there's a dedicated section on dyeing on the Knittyboards here.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Blog is Open

I just invited all the swappers for this first installment of Dye-No-Mite to join and author this blog. Welcome!

Please keep in mind the following:
  • Don't reveal any info that could be a spoiler for your secret buddy.
  • Withhold any temptation to snoop too much and find out what lovely person is spoiling you.
  • Keep your posts related to the swap and swap theme.
Have fun!!!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Get to Know Your Pals

Hello Swappers!

The swap officially began last week. If you have not contacted your pal yet, please so do ASAP so that your pal doesn't wonder what happened to you. Have fun!