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.


Knitting Rose said...

WOW, I am impressed. That is pretty and you make it sound so easy. I must give it a shot. Since you are using food freindly dyes - you can still use your crockpot for food - right? I just don't know if I can ever do that. But I sure want to try. Don't you LOVE learning knew things?

Jinky said...

am sure the dyed yarn is beautiful, unfortunately, can't seem to see the photo. Would love to see, can you show me where to look for the photo?