I know you have seen the all-edge brownie pan a whole bunch of times. While I’ve decided it's not great for dyeing yarns for some methods, I’m convinced it has its place and its purpose. What I’ve noticed about it is that the dye doesn’t easily penetrate through the skein, leaving some bald spots. So why don’t we see if we can make this an advantage instead of a disadvantage?
For my yarn base, I’m using Sabrina, one of my favorite yarns. Sabrina is a sock yarn made from 80% Merino Extrafine SW Wool and 20% Nylon. It is the 120 cm hank companion to Sadie (Sadie is the same yarn but in a 175 cm hank). I love this yarn because it becomes soft and fluffy after drying from the dyeing process.
I filled the all-edge brownie pan with water and 1 tbsp of citric acid. A higher acid concentration means the yarn strikes faster aka sucks up the dye. I only used two colors of Jacquard Acid dye for this project. Once the pan was situated across two burners, I heated the water to just before simmering. At one end of the pan, I added 1/8 tsp of Jacquard Navy and the other end 1/8 tsp Jacquard Sky Blue. You can see how fast the color floats across the water.
I gently placed the dry yarn on top of the water. And just left it there. My goal was to get a subtle gradation. My thoughts were that the yarn touching the water would soak up the most color and that as the yarn slowly saturated and sank into the pan, the newly wet areas would get less dye. It was hard to not mess with the yarn, but I just let it sink until all the yarn was wet and the dye had exhausted.
This left me with yarn that had color on the bottom, but not on the top. I expected this, and it’s so nice when expectations are reality. I didn’t want to leave that much of the yarn bare so speckling was the solution.
I used a small strainer and added the dry dye powder to it. Always add the dye over another container because a bunch of the dye just instantly falls through the mesh and it will make a mess. A huge mess. Trust me on this. I know. Some of my counter was dyed blue. (Don’t worry! I was able to scrub and scrub and SCRUB with Synthrapol Detergent and get all the dye stains off my counter.)
Tapping the side of the strainer over the yarn, I added the speckles of Sky Blue over the Navy section, and the Navy over the Sky Blue section, and allowed them mix in the middle.
Then I let the yarn happily simmer away for about 15 minutes and cool overnight in the pan. This was enough heat and time for all the dye powder to get absorbed. I washed the yarn in clear dish soap and let it hang outside to dry.
I wasn’t sure about this experiment, because it didn’t look that great in the pan. It seems really heavily colored on one side and the speckles were a bit overboard. But once it dried up, I was super happy with it!
Stay tuned for next week where we find out what happens when you combine ice and acid dye!
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 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.