When I heard that Kyle Kunnecke of Kyle William was going to be running a Knit Along in August, I was intrigued. And when I saw the clever Knit Knit Cowl, I just knew I had to try it out as my very first colorwork piece. So I decided to mingle my excitement for this Knit Along with my enjoyment of yarn dyeing.
This week, I used the undyed yarn Dolores. It’s an 80% Merino Superwash Wool and 20% Viscose from Bamboo mix, making it a perfect match for HiKoo® Sueño (the yarn being used in the Knit Along.) For the main color of the cowl, I selected Cantaloupe in Sueño, and for the contrast color, that’s where things get fun.
With my old beat-up pan, respirator and Jacquard acid dyes, I set to work. First, I filled up the pan with 6 cups of water and 1 tsp of citric acid and heated this mixture to just below simmering. Then I mixed the colors, using 5 different mixes for the dip dyeing.
• Mix 1 – 1/8 tsp Jacquard Pink
• Mix 2 - 1/16 tsp of Jacquard Russet Red + 1/16 tsp of Cherry Red
• Mix 3 – 1/8 tsp of Jacquard Violet
• Mix 4 – Leftover mix from a different project of Jacquard Fire Red, Violet, Periwinkle, and Jet Black
• Mix 5 – Leftover mix from a different project of Jacquard Hot Fuchsia and Fire Red
I grabbed the yarn around the middle of the hank and let the ends fall from my hands into the dye pot. From there, I used a dip-dye method that I have also used for the Stella Dip Dye and the Sadie Fiery Sunset. I’m just holding the yarn hank differently. I kept dipping the yarn into the dye until it exhausted, and the water ran clear.
Once that did, I rotated the center of the yarn hank so the already dipped area moved to one side, and I could dip the undyed ends into the pot. And I repeated the dip-dye steps until the dye exhausted.
Can you guess what the next steps were? Yep! You guessed it! Turn and repeat the dyeing until all the yarn has been dyed. I have to admit that in some areas, the dye didn’t exhaust, so I poured the remaining dye stock into a glass jar and added more water and citric acid into the pot. I’m saving that dye stock for other projects.
Knowing that this project was going to be used in colorwork, I was extra-worried about bleeding. So after all the yarn had been dyed and it had cooled, I rinsed it extra well. I noticed the water just wasn’t running clear. So I put more water and 1 tbsp of citric acid back into the pot and added the yarn back in. I slowly brought the yarn to a temperature just before simmering and watched the dye pot fill with extra dye from the hank. After a bit, the dye exhausted and I let it cool in the pot overnight.
In the morning, I washed the yarn one last time in cold water with clear dish soap and then let it hang outside to dry.
• There is always a ton of dye left if the dye pot isn’t fully exhausted.
• Dolores is 20% viscose from bamboo and bamboo fibers don’t take acid dye. This means Dolores isn’t going to be able to have the clear, bright colors of wool yarn. But I like the effect it gives. It is supersaturated but there isn’t as much vibrancy.
Now I just need for the Knit Along to start and the pattern to release and I’m ready to start knitting. Want to knit along with me? Grab a hank of Dolores and get dyeing! Love the idea, but aren’t ready to make your own colorway? There is still a handful of limited edition Hand-Dyed Sueño left. Sueño comes in tonal colors too! Lavender Fields is my particular favorite.
Stay tuned for next week where I step back and show you what happens when you have a yarn dyeing party!
Ready to make your 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.