Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dyeing Sock Yarn

Our last shipment from Louet contained sock yarn dyeing kits in a choice of 5 colour themes (reds, browns, blues, greens and purples).
Of course we had to try the kits out for ourselves. It was no surprise that I chose the purples while Beth experimented with reds and greens and Gabriela the blues. My cat, Whisper, inspected the contents. The kit contains three skeins of soft fingering weight undyed yarn, three shades of dye, a "Soak" fine fibre wash packet, squirt bottle and a booklet of complete instructions and even a knitted sock pattern.

The kit even seems to have a really fascinating cat toy included in the packaging.

The first step is to completely saturate the yarn with water that has a small quantity of Soak solution added. The yarn happily sits in the bucket for at least an hour while you have the chance to work on another knitting project.
The skeins are placed side by side on a waterproof surface -a garbage bag on the kitchen table worked well for me. The directions tell you how to mix the dyes and in what order to use them. They have helpful suggestions - but the spacing and width of the bands of dye is up to you. Above was my first dye application in Silver Birch. Here is dye number 2 in a deep red.
The final dyeing sequence fills in any white spaces. At this point I'm feeling a little worried that my technique might be a little "unusual". This was not what I expected from a one of a kind hand-painted yarn. I shouldn't have worried though - Louet has this process mistake proof.

The dye is set in the microwave oven for 8 minutes - in plastic bags so that there is no mess!
The colours in the yarn have blended and deepened. Next they need a good rinse to remove any excess dye. You hang the skeins to dry and like magic you have created beautiful hand-painted yarn. The entire dyeing process takes only about an hour. The yarn was dry by the next day (it actually hung in the bathtub - I wasn't prepared to tempt the squirrels and birds) and ready for knitting.

And here is the finished yarn and a sock knit by Beth using one of the skeins of the beautifully soft fibre.Beth and Gabriela also enjoyed the dyeing experience using different colour theme kits with great results.

The kit was a wonderful way to take the mystery out of the technique of hand-painting. It is a mistake proof introduction to dyeing yarn and the results will be beautiful and unique every time.

Posted by Karen

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