Thursday, September 24, 2009

Kettle Dye Fleece

Kettle Dye Fleece!

Dye is so much fun to work with. You are able to do so many things with a hank/skein of yarn. Did you know that you can handpaint your yarn. I like to use those sponge paint brushes that you can pick up at the hardware store.

You can use a variety of different items to dye your fleece. I have even heard of folks using either a microwave or crock pot to dye their fleece. I have used two methods, kettle & steam.

First you have to soak your carded fleece or braided skeins. I use a mixture of warm water and 2 tbsp of vinegar. The vinegar helps open up the fiber so that the dye can be absorbed easily. I soak that for about 20 minutes. Then I wring out the water only. Then I will place this is my pot. You can also apply color to the water or place the color in the pot prior to placing in your yarn. I have done both ways, I have used a cup with different colors and poured those in a zigzag motion on top of the yarn in the pot. Or just used one color and placed the color in the dye pot before placing the yarn. The key is to steep the yarn till the color runs clear. This is how you know that your yarn has taken in the dye.

So you are wondering well how to I mix up my dye. Well you can do a variety of things here. You can use natural methods of dye, or you can use commercial types of dye. Some are better then others. I have used the following:

Ashford Dyes, Cushing Dyes. I have also used, Wilton cake decorating paste and Kool-aid.

These have all dyed beautifully without the colors bleeding out. When you use your colors, some of the commercial dyes only a little bit is needed. Where the Wilton and Kool-aid you need to add more for a deep color. You must remember, that not all yarn will come out consistant if you are using, either Natural, Wilton or Kool-aid. Sometimes the commercial dyes will do the same. Its always a great idea to dye small amounts so the color will go into the yarn more evenly.

Now I have mentioned, steam. Yes don't be afraid of steaming. It works wonders. All you need is a large kettle, large aliminum foil, dye, fleece, cling wrap and sponge paint brushes, squirt bottles or spray bottles. All up to you which method you would like to dye your fleece with. Either way it will be unique and beautiful. First, place some water in your kettle. Then apply your foil to the top of your kettle. Make sure you make a few steam holes in the foil. Bring the water to a boil. Then you lay a few towels down to catch any escaping dye, then your cling wrap, then place your skein in a vinegar bath. After 20 minutes wring out your yarn. Place the yarn on top of the cling wrap. Mix up your dye, and either squirt, paint or spray your skeins. Remember you don't want to drown the yarn. Just enough to color it, then once you have one side completed. You must flip your skein and do the other side. Once you have your skein the way you like it. Fold the cling wrap over the skein, roll up the skein and place on top of the foil.

Let your skein steam till the water runs clear. Now remember, when you remove your rolls of cling wrapped yarn. Please be careful, You can get burned. What I do is use those Jelly jar grabbers and grab the yarn still wrapped up. I then place them in a strainer and allow to cool with the cling wrap on. DO NOT UNWRAP, TILL COOL!. Usually can take 24 hours. Then once cool. Don't rinse. Hang to dry.


1 comment:

  1. Great post! I have never tried to dye my own fiber...for some reason I find it intimidating, but now I might just gather up my courage and give it a go!