You wouldn’t want me to waste that good Easter egg dye and just dump it down the drain….NO…we can’t have that. So, I will now present you with my Kettle Dye-ing tutorial thanks to recycled Easter Egg dyes.
Do you remember the song, “Peanut, peanut butter, jelly!” “Peanut, peanut butter, jelly! First you take the peanuts and you crush them…”
Good, so now that I have that in your head, sing with me…
“Easter egg dyeing, dyeing!” “Easter egg dyeing, dyeing!” “First you take the egg and you dunk it, dunk it, dunk it, dunk it….Easter egg dyeing, dyeing!”
“Then you take the yarn and you soak it, soak it, soak it….” Then you take the dyes and you dump ‘em, dump ‘em, dump em….” “Easter yarn dyeing, dyeing!”
Yah, yah, yah…so, I kind of have lost my mind…you see I already know this. No big news here…so now onto the yarn dyeing (ps…you know I should be studying, but now can’t let good dye go to waste…)
(By the way, insert a Big Thanks to my secret pal for enabling my yarn dyeing addiction. That big roll of yarn, keeps going, and going, and going…for this little tutorial I wound off about 6 or 7 ozs…and I swear I still have half the roll there.)
1. Put yarn into a hank. (Wind it around 2 chairs and then tie it loosely in 3 or 4 places around the yarn. Remember, loose as you want the yarn to move around, if you tie it tight you will get a white line where the dye won’t settle…that is known as tie dyeing and will not be shown here in this tutorial…)
2. Soak the yarn in warm soapy water for about 30 minutes. I believe this removes some of the oils and lanolin so the dye take more. Don’t quote me, as I am not an expert.
3. Fill your pot with hot water. Only put enough in it to barely cover the yarn. I have realized too much water allows for the dye to wander to the other side of the pot.
4. Lay your yarn in the pot, how you want it. Pour 1/4 cup of vinegar in the pot and mush it around with your fingers. I had the stove on Med/Low. However, I have learned that I have a “faulty low,” which means that I can put my hand on the burner when it is on Low and it is warm, doesn’t burn me. (told you I am a risk taker.)
My suggestion for heat would be, if the water is too hot and burns you, well then you will felt your yarn. My heat guesstimate would be that you would want it about hot tub hot. When you lay the yarn in the pot you can have it all going around one way, you can have it doubled on itself, or you can just randomly throw it in there. I am sure you will get different effects with different ways of laying the yarn in the pot.
You can tell from my picture I don’t have a whole lot of water in there. (ps…this is my method’s and other people’s methods may vary.)
5. Dye – now let us go back a second….I am using already made Easter egg dyes. So, with that said you can follow the exact directions on the back of the food coloring box to make your cup of dyes. I also made up some Kool-Aid dye, last minute because I wanted more red. I used 2 packets of Kool-Aid and an unknown amount of vinegar I added in and some warm water. I have learned with dyeing that there is nothing wrong with being a little bit liberal with the vinegar.
Before I talk about the colors, I am going to tell you about exhausting the dye. Exhausting the dye means that when you put the dye in it will be bright colored. It is exhausted when it turns clear or watery like. Dump the dye in, let it exhaust, dump the next colored dye in, let it exhaust…don’t mix, unless you are experimenting with some type of blending. Some colors exhaust really fast, like yellow, orange, and red. Some colors exhaust really, really slow, like green and blue. And…some colors like purple take a few steps in the exhaust process. The purple seems to exhaust the red out of it first, and then the blue. So, there is some patience involved with the cooler colors. In fact, there is patience involved in dyeing.
For that reason, in my head I decided that I will always start with the colors that exhaust fast. My reasoning is that they will go where I want them and stay there and it is a quick process. The cooler colors tend to wander around the post. So my theory is that if yarn is already occupied by a color, like red it will be less likely to take up green or blue. Now, red yarn does take up green and blue but it will always have kind of a red center to it. I am not a dye expert, this is just what I have observed.
This color is actually Yellow. It goes in looking orangish and you can see the dye sitting on the top of the yarn. I will stick my hand in there and push a crevice in the center of where I want the dye. I don’t have to do this, but for some reason I do. I guess I want to make sure the yellow goes straight through. Yellow exhausts fast.
It is hard to see that the yellow has exhausted, but it has. There might be some dye left, but since I was planning on doing a sunset red, next it didn’t matter to me.
6. Rinse in warm soapy water, do not rub or wring. You aren’t trying to felt the yarn, you are just trying to get the excess dye out. I let the yarn fill with water and then ball it together and pull it agains the side of the sink. When I think the dye is rinsed out, I fill the sink up with warm water and add conditioner (per my secret pal’s fantastic advice and also add some lanolin and some lavender oil.) I just want my yarn to feel and smell good. Plus, maybe that lavender will help repel some bugs, I don’t know….
You might notice that dyes spread in the pot and can cause areas that look “muddy.” It is my opinion that you either like this or hate it. I am an odd duck, and like it. If you take a close up of the yarn, it isn’t actually a “mud” color, yet instead is a layered mixture of color…the core is one color and the outside shaft of the yarn is another color.
If you don’t like this mixing of color, then there are a few things you can do. The first is only kettle dye with colors that look good mixing together, like Red, Orange, Yellow… Or, you can just dye the yarn one color and get variations of that color in the yarn.
If you really hate the mixing of colors, well you might just want to do the microwave method, where you lay the yarn out on saran wrap and hand paint the yarn, and the “nuke it.”
Finally my best advice is to just experiment and enjoy what you are doing. Take notes (mentally or physically.)