Dyeing Day – by Frances

Yes, I lived to tell the tale!

Rachel and David welcomed us into their home yesterday to do some dyeing. Very brave indeed considering we were carrying dyes to and fro from the kitchen and laundry and into the craft room. We had 3 dye pots going in the kitchen – purple, blue and a blend. Also in the craft room there was dyeing wrapped with drops on skeins – wrapped in gladwrap going in the microwave.

I popped into Audreys on the way as she had some old dyes that “needed using up” surprised to find Flo there as well, as Audrey obviously wanted to make doubly sure we picked them up!

Tomoko, Kay, Esther, Alison and I were dyeing skeins. There were many others who came along to join in the fun doing other crafts and watching the dyeing.

I had about 2kg of beige woollen yarn ($5 for the whole big cone from the op shop) to dye and used some of Audreys dyes, I made purple and blue (no surprises there I’m afraid) – the skeins came out in a variety of shades of the colours I chose. I was pretty happy with the results and am keen to see them knitted up.

Some of the things I learned were :

  • Yarn needs to be soaked for at least half in hour in a preparation of warm water with some soap and vinegar
  • Both of the dye colours I used soaked into the wool leaving only light traces in the water.
  • The wool has a saturation point and can only take up so much colour.
  • The pot mustn’t be too hot in case the wool at the bottom scorches
  • The wool can be left in the dye pot to cool down as some colours in the dye are taken up at different temperatures.
  • The wool must be cooled before rinsing in cold in case it gets shocked and then felts
  • Food colouring dyes produce bright results, and are easy to clean up – although I didn’t try this method yet.
  • I should have tied my skeins more securely as some came undone when I was stirring them in the pot.
  • It’s never too late to re-tie the skeins.
  • Use a stick to remove skeins and hang to cool – they can be really hot.
  • Smaller skeins are easier to manage than the big skeins I made and quicker to dry
  • When big quantities are airing in the house they give off a farmyard smell!
This was later in the day when there were only about half of us left. From left Rachel, Tomoko, Esther and Alison
Kay rinsing

Some of the finished results
My massive skeins that I’m not looking forward to untangling. They look lighter in the photo.

It was so much fun working on this together. I’m looking forward to learning more about dying in the future and trying some different ways.

Thanks so much for having us Rachel.

About Onslow Fibrecrafts Guild

We love Knitting, felting, spinning, weaving and other fibre crafts. We meet twice a month to share skills and learn new ones. Our usual meeting place is Johnsonville Community Centre Trust Room on 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month, from 9.30am to 11.30am The Guild is affiliated to New Zealand Creative Fibre which helps us to:  Invite tutors to expand our own skills,  Enjoy Creative Fibre workshops and festivals  Enter our work in Creative Fibre exhibitions  Contact with fibrecrafters all around the world  Organise events with other area guilds
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