More Experiments with Bases

October 30, 2019 2 Comments
Eat, Knit and Dye

Yet again, this is a total experiment. I have no idea if this going to work. I’m okay with that! As you may recall, I wrote a post previously where I compared a natural and silver base with the same dye colors to see how the two differed. This time I gave it a go with different bases. 

For this week, I am using HiKoo® Sueño in 1100 Natural and 1193 Buttercream. This yarn is an 80% Superwash Merino Wool and 20% Viscose from Bamboo blend and has excellent wearability. I am also using 1/8 tsp of Jacquard Acid Dyes mixed in jars with 1 tsp of citric acid per jar. I used Jacquard Bright Yellow, a green mixture (equal mix of Kelly Green, Chartreuse, and Spruce), and Turquoise.

There isn’t a huge difference between these two colors. I am worried that it won’t make much of a difference. But the only way to find out is to try! I tied some bindings through the yarn to keep it from tangling and added a shower ring. I have to say; these shower rings are awesome. They really help with tangling and give you something to grab onto to move the yarn around without burning your fingers. Unless you like burning your fingers. But really, that’s your choice. I won’t judge!

I soaked the yarn in some water and Synthrapol for 30 minutes before starting the dyeing process.

I went shopping at my local thrift store and found another cool pot. It's long and skinny and just perfect for putting two skeins of yarn in it. The checkout lady informed me it’s a fish steamer (and was totally excited when she found out it still had the inside grate.) Then she looked at me like I was nuts when I told her it was for dyeing yarn. Because I am used to getting this look, I was unfazed and went home with my new trophy.

I laid out the two skeins in the pot and filled it with enough water that the yarn was halfway submerged. This keeps the yarn from scorching and from there being too much water as I add the dye. The pot is laid across two burners, and the temperature brought to just before simmering.

Using a syringe, the dye was added with yellow on the top, transitioning to green and then to turquoise. Then I left the yarn alone for 10 minutes and let the dye exhaust.

Using the handy dandy shower rings, the yarn was flipped over, and the dye reapplied to the other side, which didn’t have much dye on it.

When the yarn was wet, I couldn’t really see a difference, but I have found that wet yarn isn’t always the best indicator of results, so I washed it and hung it up to dry.

So, did the base make a difference? Yes!

On the Natural, the Turquoise is brighter and a true turquoise. On the Butter Cream, it is definitely more teal. The green in the Natural is much more middle of the road green while on the Butter Cream it is much brighter. And the Bright Yellow on the Natural is more mellow while on the Butter Cream it’s a darker warm yellow, very much like sunflower yellow. Hopefully, the colors come through on your monitor! It’s not a huge difference in pictures, but it is in person.

Left Image: (Butter Cream is on the left and Natural on the Right)
Bottom Image: (Natural on the Top, Butter Cream on the Bottom)

Stay tuned for next week where I check out what happens with a single skein in the fish pot!

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!

About Tara
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.

Tara Warburton's Frost Fairy
  • Hi Tara,

    I have some hanks of 45/55 wool/cotton blend yarn that I am thinking of dyeing. Have you ever worked with that kind of blend? I know the two fibers need different kinds of dye, so I’m wondering how to go about it. Thanks!

    • Hi Victoria,

      That’s a good question! Because you need a dye that works on both protein and cellulose fibers, you’ll want an all-purpose dye. I would recommend trying Jacquard iDye. I haven’t used it for dying wool personally, but I have used it on silk and cotton and I really love the colors it comes in. Unfortunately, Makers’ Mercantile doesn’t carry those particular dyes, but they are readily available from other sources. It sounds like a fun experiment to try in the future!

      Happy dyeing!

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