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Topic: dying wool yarn in a crockpot?  (Read 2071 times)
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wdicwg
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« on: January 05, 2013 05:07:29 PM »

I have recently started dying my own wool yarn in a crock-pot using this tutorial: http://terynjay.blogspot.com/2009/02/tutorial-dyeing-yarn-by-hot-pour-method.html

The first skein I dyed for a swap and it turned out looking great, so I decided to dye some more for myself, but the second turned out looking almost a solid deep purple.  So the next time I bought the cheapest wool yarn I could find in white and bought some different colors of food coloring.  The first of that experiment turned out looking yucking and brown, but the second looked great.

So now I have dyed four skeins using the same method and two looking not so good and two looking great, and I haven't done anything differently any of the times.  So is there any common mistakes I could be making?  Is there any way to ensure yarn looks good with crock-pot dying or is it always a crap shoot?  Is there another more reliable way of dying wool with food coloring or something else readily available at supermarket or walmart?
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« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2013 05:17:54 PM »

Did you measure your dye equally every time?  Did you add the vinegar at a different time?  We're you working with the same color every batch?  Food colouring will break.  So if you have a purple and you only put a bit in you are either going to get pink or blue,  because those are purples primary colors.  If you put in a lot of color, you may get the color you are after.  Hopefully I can add more once you reply.
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AlpacaNanny
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2013 10:45:32 PM »

If you can get Ritt dye that can be used for yarn.  I have occasionally used Ritt, but sometimes have found that it does not always exhaust and can make yarn a bit rough, but you can rinse with diluted hair conditioner to help that.  Also, if you have a Jo Ann Fabric or craft store close, they often have Deylon (sp?) which I have used.  For best results I highly recommend using an acid dye specifically for natural fibers.   One brand that I have found to be affordable and very stable is Cushing.  I buy this at www.woolery.com for $3.25 per packet which dyes one pound. 

Belladune had some good points about keeping your technique the same.  (I have never used food dyes - so can't address that.) One thought I had is that when doing immersion dyeing with multiple colors (often called rainbow dyeing) you generally have only an inch or two of water in the pot to avoid the colors mixing too much and becoming muddy.

When I want to dye multiple colors on yarn, I paint and steam it.  I lay out the damp yarn (presoaked in vinegar) in an elipse shape  on plastic wrap and apply dye to sections using a baby bottle.  I roll the two sides of the elipse in the plastic toward the center so there is two separate "sides".  Then I roll it up like a jelly roll, and steam by placing it on bricks with an inch of water in a covered pot.  Steam for 45 minutes, cool and rinse.  By rolling the yarn in two sections this avoids much color bleeding.  Does this make sense???

Here are some photos of yarn I have painted.  Painted yarns are by far my best seller, so I do alot with this method.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/31272800@N05/sets/72157626362561172/

Hope this helps!!!!
Happy Dyeing,
Louise
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wdicwg
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2013 04:17:16 PM »

Belladune, I have tried to measure the colors as best as possible, but it has been a bit hard to measure the gel since it sticks to EVERYTHING, but I have been adding the vinegar when I started to pre-soak the yarn every time.  I did two different color combinations one with violet, sky blue, and green and one with violet and pink, but had one successful and one not successful of each combo, and mixing seems to be more of a problem than it breaking.


AlpacaNanny, I looked at the rit dye but didn't try it because wool wasn't on the list of fabrics they recommended it for, but it is good to know it can work on wool.  I don't have a craft store very close by but I do visit the city nearest to me like once a month and probably will be in another few weeks and I try to stock up on supplies while I am there, so I can look for some of the products you mentioned.  I do like that the website you linked for the cushings has a color card available since color differences was what worried me about buying dyes online.

The amount of water that I am using could be too much, since I have been covering the yarn well with water plus the vinegar so I may need to try it with less water.  The painting method sounds like there is more control which i like the idea of and I followed almost all of the technique except for the part about rolling it.  Do you mean like wrapping each half up before rolling the whole thing, or am I way off?  Also could squeeze bottles be used in place of baby bottles (like the kind for ketchup and mustard at picnics) or would the dye flow too freely out of those?

Also your yarns are gorgeous!
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"Creativity is a drug I cannot live without." ~Cecil B. DeMille

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. ~Robert Brault

http://pinterest.com/swaffe08/
AlpacaNanny
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2013 07:04:08 AM »

wdicwg,
Violet and green combined can become muddy. 

Yes, I meant wrapping each half of the elipse.  (Sorry, but it was late and it is a hard concept to explain!!)  You can use any type of squeeze bottle, but be certain the yarn is not soppy wet with dye or you may get too much bleeding.  I keep towels/rags handy and blot up any excess.  You are right, this does give you more control.   Also, depending on the size of the skeins, you can do multiple skeins together. 

Do you have a scale?  I have a kitchen scale that weighs ounces or grams.  I carefully weigh yarn/fiber and dye.  I convert to grams for more accurate weights.  Having accurate weights generally means that the dye will exhaust and will rinse clean.   One ounce =27 grams.  Depending on the intensity of the color I want I use 2-4% dye for the weight of the yarn.  So if you have a 4 ounce skein that = 108 grams and I would use 2 grams of dye - or 4 if I want deep color.

If you are on yahoo there is a GREAT group called Dye Happy. 

Thank you for the compliment on my yarns.  I am truly a fiber/dyeing junkie!!!

Louise
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wdicwg
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« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2013 06:16:37 PM »

Thank you for your help AlpacaNanny I will have to try some of your tips this weekend and will hopefully have some nice yarns to show off.
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"Creativity is a drug I cannot live without." ~Cecil B. DeMille

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. ~Robert Brault

http://pinterest.com/swaffe08/
AlenaSelene
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2013 06:56:36 AM »

Dying can be tricky. Sometimes it's impossible to recreate color results exactly. For example, commercial yarns are marked with dye lot #s because the lots can vary.

Different raw materials will produce a different result, too. With hand made products, like hand spun yarn, the product will have natural variations. One skein of yarn may be wound tighter or looser, dye will penetrate the looser yarn faster and deeper. I like AlpacaNanny's method of weighing the yarn.

Measuring everything and writing down each step can help you get closer to being able to create predictable results. Think of it like cooking. If you use exactly the same ingredients and prepare and cook a food in the exact same way every time, it should taste pretty much the same. But if you vary ingredients or change the order or cooking method, the result will be different.
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steiconi
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2013 06:23:10 PM »

I saw some beautiful hand-spun wool yarns that had been dyed in KoolAde.  They said use only the unsweetened powder, and I think they used vinegar to set the color. 
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