For this week’s installment of Eat, Knit & Dye, I have selected the undyed yarn Stella, which has been bleached & steamed to give it a whiter base than most undyed yarns. This sock yarn is a blend of 75% Wool and 25% Nylon. Out of all the undyed yarns Makers' Mercantile® carries, this is the one the brightest white, and I wanted to try and keep some of that undyed.
I really like the color combination of yellow, green and blue. I figured that dip dyeing would be a fun method to achieve the bands of colors with some blending I was hoping to get. I once again used Jacquard Acid Dyes, which I added in powder form directly to the dye pot. The dye pot was filled with 4 cups of water and 1 tsp of citric acid to start.
I used 5 different colors for this colorway. Here is the recipe:
• 1/4 tsp of Jacquard Sun Yellow
• 1/8 tsp of Jacquard Chartreuse
• 1/4 tsp of Jacquard Sun Yellow + 1/8 tsp Turquoise
• 1/8 tsp of Jacquard Turquoise
• 1/8 tsp of Jacquard Sapphire
As a reminder of safety, everything I have used is used only for dyeing as acid dyes are not food safe. And when dealing with the dye powders I wear a super styling respirator to protect my lungs. I tied the yarn with figure 8s using embroidery floss and soaked it in water for an hour prior to dyeing. Remember when soaking yarn to just lay it into the liquid and let is sink on its own. If you push the yarn down into the liquid, it gets wet on the outside, but the center part of the yarn might not. Pushing the yarn makes an air pocket in the fibers of the yarn. We don't want that.
To get started, I filled the pot up with the water, citric acid, and yellow dye, and brought it to a temperature right before simmering. To protect the undyed portion of the hank, I held it in my hand and looped the rest of the hank over my arm and wrist. I dipped only the portion of the hank I wanted to get dyed into the pot and swished it around gently to make sure dye was penetrating throughout the hank.
I knew that it was going to take a bit of time for the dye to exhaust, so I stacked it over the edge of the pot and let the excess rest on a plate. This kept my arm from getting tired while I waited for all the dye to be absorbed and the water to turn clear (aka exhausting). And you might notice in some of the pictures you can see the Leslie Alpenglow yarn on the right. So I worked on that at the same time.
I progressed through the rest of the colors in the same manner. Adding the powdered dye to the dye pot, mixing it in until it was dissolved, and then dipping the yarn. I did have to refill the water several times as a lot of it was absorbed by the yarn. I didn’t take pictures because it was pretty self-explanatory, but I do have this image of the last color just hanging out and waiting for the dye to exhaust.
After the last of the dye exhausted, I let the yarn cool to room temperature. I rinsed it in cold water, making sure to keep the undyed section on top so no excess dye didn’t accidentally get on the fibers. I also washed the yarn in clear dish soap. And the yarn went out to dry.
This is a fun and cheerful colorway. I think it would make a great pair of socks. You could combine it with Zitron Trekking XXL or Trekking Sport if you want to have stripes, or perhaps different colored toes and heels.
What I learned:
• The dye takes a long time to exhaust. I should have used less dye to start with.
• No matter how hard you try to keep an undyed portion uncovered, somehow some dye might sneak in. I think I had a smidge of green left on my gloves.
Stay tuned for next week where I try something else fun. I don’t know what it will be because I’ll be dyeing up a storm this weekend!
Ready to make your own unique colorway? Hop on over to Makers' Mercantile® and pick up your undyed yarn and supplies. We can’t wait to see what you make, so tag us on social media with #makersmercantile!
Tara Warburton is the former graphic designer for Makers' Mercantile® and a fine artist. She specializes in watercolor and colored pencil illustrations. She lives with her two cats, who are not helpful when knitting.