Sunday, October 08, 2006
Crock Pot Yarn Dyeing
I posted this yarn on some websites I frequent & have gotten several request for the instructions, so I figured I'd put it out there. The internet is such a strange & wonderful world - I have been told that crock pot instructions using this dye method are not easy to find. I am on the quest to elevate my blog to the top of google searches - try googling "Erdal Lazer" yarn - I am second only to ebay if any is listed at that time, which proves the inadequacy of the company's marketing skills - I personally think I should get free yarn for that, but I digress.
First of all, I can not claim credit for these directions. I will give them too you just as my knitting friend Ronda in Fort Worth gave them to me. I met her for the first time on the same day I saw this beautiful yarn that she had dyed & I thought she was entirely clever. Here we are months & months later & I still think so.
For my crockpot dyeing mission I used Wilton's Icing Dye. I think I got mine at Hobby Lobby for a few dollars, but I've also seen it at Michael's & similar stores. It apparently comes in varies consistencies but I used the paste. The yarn in the picture shown above was made with black dye. Just black - can you believe it? Apparently they get the dark colors by blending other colors so they split when you cook them & this is what you get. I also tried using the burgundy color but I just got pink yarn, so if you use something dark like purple or dark green or something similar, and it splits to give you varigated yarn, PLEASE let me know - I don't dye yarn to get one color - to me it just isn't as interesting.
This particular yarn is Paton's Merino Wool in an ecru color - any animal fiber should work. I started by taking it out of the skein & wrapping it in a hank, then tie it LOOSELY with a scrap piece of yarn (if you use acryllic you will see just how true it is that acryllic won't absorb dye -very). When I say tie loosely I mean it - you can see in the picture that some of the areas I tied didn't take as much, in some cases any, dye. I have a bigger crockpot - it's 4 quarts as far as I can tell - and that is what I used. Sidenote: If you don't have one, they are often at garage sales for a few dollars. I put the yarn in my crockpot & added enough water to cover the yarn. Then I put in a quick pour of white vinegar - that sets the color in the yarn & also makes it smell like.....vinegar. I let the yarn sit in the vinegar water with the crockpot off for about an hour. I took a butter knife & dipped the tip of it into the dye paste & pulled it out - there was maybe a 1/2 teaspoon of dye on there? That is PLENTY enough. Take the butter knife with the dye on it & stab the yarn in 3 or 4 or 5 spots until the knife is empty. Let the yarn cook on high for several hours - I check it every hour or so but you'll know when the yarn has taken all of the dye because the water will be clear - or very nearly clear.
To be honest I'm not sure if some of my method is overkill & what I made up myself - like letting the yarn sit that long, but I do know that it needs to be saturated. So take these non-professional directions with that in mind. Some people want exact times & measurements & I understand that - I'm usually that person. What I've had to convince myself of is that this is ART & you can use these guidelines or experiment - the products are generally pretty inexpensive & dyeing is so fun.