My last blog entry led to a few more questions in my Ravelry group, so I thought I’d do a wee follow up here too.
One of the points I made in my last entry raised a lot of interest on Ravelry, and that was the point that the dye bath exhausts when dyeing, and all the colour goes into the yarn, leaving just slightly acidic water to throw away. So I took a few photographs to illustrate what I mean.
Here I am dyeing Quickstep, a lovely teal shade which I only do on the Na Dannsairean 4ply base. This is the start of the dyeing process. The yarn has already been soaking in water for a while, and then goes into the dye/water solution. The water is cold at this point.
Slowly, slowly the water is heated. As it heats and as the yarn sucks up the colour, so the water solution becomes paler:
until eventually the yarn has captured all the colour, and the water is clear:
It then takes a while to dry the yarn, and once dried, and tidied, and labelled, it looks like this:
Another question on Ravelry was concerning how I got the different colours onto a single hank of yarn.
Well, this is more of a trade secret which I’m not really prepared to divulge. All dyers have their own techniques which they develop with experience and testing. I never had any formal dyeing lessons, and other than a very informal class on dyeing with Kool Aid, everything I know on the subject I’ve taught myself. There are many books and websites out there offering advice, but ultimately nothing beats just doing it. And usually doing it over and over and over again until you develop your own style and techniques. Having a basic knowledge in colour theory helps, and consistency in how you mix your dyes is key, i.e. the ratio of dye to acid to water, and you will find lots of technical stuff online and in books about the best way to do this. But ultimately, so long as you always do it in the same way and to the same ratio, you can achieve consistency of colour.
I hope you’ve found this mini series on how I do things interesting.