Welcome! The alpacas and farm life have become my constant teachers, and I have begun shifting my blog focus to reflect the lessons I am learning. I plan to share more thoughts and stories related to farm life in Grays Harbor County and carve out a space in the ethernet where one can stop, breathe, and think.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Easter Egg Dye is Not Just for Eggs

I know many people who have used Easter Egg Dye and KoolAid for dyeing yarn, but I haven't tried it myself - until now. Today, I invited the preschool class at the local YMCA to come out for a farm tour, and I set up a table with canning jars filled with different egg and KoolAid dyes so the kids could experiment with some small pieces of yarn.

Most of the dye pots were still quite full after the kids left, so I decided it was time to have fun and dye some handspun corriedale yarn that's been sitting around for awhile. I only used the egg dyes for my yarn because I liked the colors. (One tablet of egg dye was combined with several tablespoons of white vinegar in an 8 oz canning jar. I then added enough hot water to fill the jar about half way.)

Yarn simmering on the stove.
The yarn was gently simmered in enough water to cover the yarn, plus some healthy splashes of vinegar. Meanwhile, since the dye pots were cold by this point from sitting around, I picked the colors I wanted to use and put them in the microwave until they were hot. Vinegar is volatile, so I added another splash into each pot for good measure.

When the yarn and the dyes seemed to be about the same temperature, I donned heavy duty gloves, gently squeezed the excess liquid out of the yarn and submerged 3 sections of yarn, one section into each of 3 colors - blue, green, and purple. The dye pots are sitting in a foil pan - more on why later.
Three different sections of the yarn skein submerged in 3 differently colored dye pots.  

As the submerged yarn soaked, I used a paint brush to paint orange onto the exposed white yarn. After all of the white sections were painted orange, I overdyed one section with red and another with yellow to give each section a different orange hue.

Once painting was complete, I poured boiling water into the foil pan (maybe about 1/2 inch?), then placed another foil pan on top to enclose the yarn in a foil pan tent. I figured this would help steam the painted yarn and help set the dye. An hour or so later, I gently squeezed out the excess dye liquids and gave the yarn a rinse in warm water with some vinegar added. The purple dye pot was exhausted, while some color remained in the blue and green pots.
Dye pots after dyeing. Much of the color was removed from the purple and blue pots, with some remaining in the green.

Since we had a sunny, spring-like day, I hung the yarn outside to dry a bit. I'm still contemplating what project I'll use it for. I'm leaning toward a necklace-like item that will show off these fun colors. 
My dyed yarn hanging out to dry.
Ciao for now,

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