I had some white bamboo yarn (the stuff in the background) that I wanted to dye. Since cellullose yarns don't take to kool-aid I had to figure out a new way to dye. I'll be posting a little tutorial later on my blog, but basically I used pmx powder dyes for this.
Tutorial (I posted it with pics on my blog)
I headed straight out to AC Moore and walked to their fabric paints section. Under all the tie-dye kits and puffy fabric paints they had Procion MX Dye in a bunch of different colors. This stuff was right next to the RIT, but I don't suggest you use that stuff since it's a lot more toxic and staining (it requires a lot more bleach to get it off). This powder looked good to me, so I bought one in deep purple and one in fire engine red (they were unfortunately out of fuschia). I wondered if I should buy black, but figured that for now this was ok. I also picked up two squeeze bottles, two mini bottles, and soda ash (sodium carbonate) which acts as our color fixer. Now we get to the actual tutorial, so I hope I haven't bored you. I'll give the numbers I used, but after I started all of this I found this tutorial. (I still have no clue why that page never came up before) Depending on how much you are dyeing that one may help you.
You will need:
Procion MX Dye, the color of your choice (I have 050 and 030)
Some sort of bucket (if you are doing a lot of yarn) or tray (get a cat litter tray, I did, they are cheap and deep enough)
Squeeze bottles (needs to be at least 2 cups big)
Turkey Baster (not dire)
Yarn! (cotton, bamboo, silk, etc, just not wool!)
1. Get your yarn into a hank, maybe around a chair or niddy noddy or a person, who knows. Tie evenly in a few places (I did 4 ties) Let your yarn soak for a while. I soaked mine in some soymilk for 20 minutes, but you could just use water.
2. Now, my recipe is for 1 oz of yarn. Weigh your yarn if you can (or look at your ball band) to figure out how you change this. Though really it will work a lot more yarn, since I had a lot left over. Put 1/4 tsp of dye into your squeeze bottle and add a bit of warm water (a little at a time) and stir into a paste. I used a chopstick for this.
3. Add 2 cups of hot (hot! from the tap) water into your bottle (with the paste) and stir.
4. Add 2 tbsp of salt into your dye mixture and stir to dissolve (this is what helps your yarn soak up the dye, add more salt for a deep color like black)
5. Using gloves, pour dye liquid on yarn, making sure apply it evenly and under your little ties. This is the fun part, cause you get to make up where the colors go if you are doing more than one, or you control how deep or light they are. Before I dyed the yarn though, I placed a cookie tray/rack/cooler thing under my hank so that the color wouldn't pool and muddle since I was using more than one color)
To play with the colors, I made one "strip" full strength purple, but then watered down with some water I poured on it with a turkey baster, another with both bottles of red and purple to make a mix, and then a super strength deep purple (where I added less water to the mix), and a light pinkey red (where I added less red powder to the mix and poured water on it with the turkey baster.
6. Let the yarn sit for 10 minutes, but make sure that the dye is even throughout. I squished mine and spread the yarn a bit every few minutes to make sure of this. After ten minutes you want to pour on the soda ash to set in your color. You need to dissolve 2 tbsp of the soda in 2 cups of warm water (remember to stir). I used my trusty turkey baster for this part as well. Wearing my gloves, I made sure that I poured the ash mix evenly onto the yarn.
7. Depending on your color(s), you may want to pour some more dye on the yarn if you feel the ash mix took some off, but this isn't a must.
8. Let your yarn sit for 20-30 minutes for light to medium colors and 60 minutes for deeper colors. I had to compromise with the times since mine was a mix. I let mine sit for 45 minutes, which kept my deep colors deep while the lighter ones went a little darker.
9. Wash your yarn until the water runs clear, I used a mild shampoo for this part.
10. Let dry. Now there seems to be some differing views on how to do this (as in sun or no sun). I let mine hang for a few hours in indirect sun, but then brought it back in partly because of the sun and partly because it's so damn humid outside. My colors didn't fade, so I think this is ok.
11. After your yarn is fully dry, wind it back into a skein and love it!
If you are going to dye more than one skein, I would do the mixing of the dyes and water in a bucket and drop all your yarn in so you can get the same color lot. Though you can still do it this way just as easily (just make sure to mix up enough dye)You can pre-mix color combos, by mixing enough powder from each color into one bottle (it will still be a total of 1/4 tsp for 1 oz of yarn)Keep the amount of salt and soda the same, no matter if you reduce the amount of dye powderFeel free to ask me any questions, I'm sure I didn't cover something on here.This doesn't work for any animal fibers, except for silk.
pic of my yarn drying: