How to Kettle Dye Yarn or Fiber
A few weeks ago, I shared with you my method of How to Hand Paint Yarn. So today I thought I’d tell you about How to Kettle Dye your yarn.
|Kettle dyeing yarn is much less labor intensive than hand painting which also takes a lot more time. |
So, why would you ever hand paint your yarn rather than just kettle dyeing it? Because hand painting gives you a lot more control over where the dye goes and how much it blends with the neighboring colors.
There are pros and cons to each method. It all depends on how you want the final skein of yarn to look.
Note: Make sure the type of dye you use is compatible with the fiber in your yarn. In this case, I used my alpaca/merino yarn and Jacquard Acid Dyes
. Acid dye is specifically made to dye protein (animal) fiber.
For this project, I’m using three colors: Terra Cotta, Brown and Tan
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Note: Always follow safety directions when handling dye powder!
Soaking the Fiber
Fill your roaster about half way with hot water. Add some vinegar. How much depends on how much yarn you plan on dyeing.
My rule of thumb is about 1 cup of vinegar to 4 (3 ounce) skeins.Place your yarn in the water and push it down. Don’t agitate or swoosh it around as this will cause it to felt.
Let the yarn sit in the water bath for about an hour to thoroughly saturate it.
Applying the Dye
Now, you are ready to add your dye! Using a cup, remove enough water from the pot so that the water is barely covering the yarn.
Next, gently lift the yarn from one end of the pot and add your first dye color to the water. Very carefully place the yarn back in the pot. Add some more of the first dye color to the top of the yarn.
Using your chopstick or plastic spoon, gently open up the yarn to allow the dye to penetrate each part.
Add the second color across the center of the yarn. Again, with the chopstick or spoon, carefully move the yarn. Add more dye if necessary.
Repeat the steps with the third dye color.
Setting the Dye
Once all of the yarn is covered with dye, turn the stove burner on low. You want to slowly heat the yarn to a simmer. After 15 minutes or so, turn the temp up to medium. Once the water begins to simmer, turn the heat back down to low. Leave it there for about 45 minutes or until all the dye is dissolved and the water is clear. At this point, I usually just turn off the burner, cover the pot and let it sit overnight. At the very least, let it sit til the water cools completely.
Now you can remove the yarn from the pot and rinse it in room temp water. When the water runs clear, hang up your yarn to dry.
Congrats! You just kettle dyed some yarn!
If any of the steps are unclear, please leave a comment and let me know. What do you think? Will you try it?
Happy Day Everyone!