It’s a lie. I didn’t start a yarn dying business. I don’t know if i have it in me to ever start something like that… but i did dye some yarn
On my birthday (in March) i received a lovely present from my dearest friends – a yarn dying kit. I was so happy because for a long time i wanted to try that and i actually planned the 2020 to be the year i learnt how to do it. If not for them, i would’ve probably failed due to this pandemic as i was planning to book like a workshop in yarn dying and learn there.
My biggest drawback is not always doing enough research on any topic that might interest me. I check the basics and then just do it. There’s always hiccups on the way and general failures, but i can’t seem to learn from my mistakes and finally do something about it.
This yarn dying shenanigan was no different, i pretty much failed completely. I did all the wrong steps in all the wrong order, but, BUT, i did manage to dye something, so, hey ho.
April (May?) Knitcrate, due to the pandemic, was also a dye at home kit using Koolaid – a powder you mix with water to get flavoured drink or dye yarn apparently. I personally couldn’t get my head around the fact that i could dye yarn using essentially food, in one shape or another and that well, might i add. Not that i ever drank that stuff, but knowing what i know now, i can’t believe people (mainly kids) are allowed to drink that stuff.
Anyway, on the day i decided to do the dying, i thought i’d kickstart my yarn-dying experience with that kit and then continue with my Acid Dyes.
Oh, at first it all went fabulously well, i was incredibly happy. I had a cherry and grape Koolaid, the colours were amazing. The blending and speckling wasn’t the top notch, but very close, brilliant in fact for the first time, that’s for sure. So at that point i was feeling like i could do it (have a yarn dyeing business), i even researched where i could get my hands on undyed yarn.
Then came the other yarn dying experience. Well, the start was wonderful. I did speckles with all the colours in the box, just to try them all. I knew colour-wise it’d be some crazy, not so pretty combo, but, you know, i had to do it. That’s why i used only two skeins for that, just to try it out.
I had no idea how much to use or how to use those dyes, so, what started like an artistic vomit turned into something that resembled a standard vomit.
I cooked one skein at a time as i only have a tiny pot. I put one of the speckled yarns in a simmering pot and suddenly everything mixed together. I was lost, i didn’t know what to do, how to salvage this?!
As i later learnt – you speckle and dye yarn while it’s cooking, almost one colour at a time and simmer until all the pigment has been absorbed by the yarn.
I simmered and simmered, lifting up the yarn just to check what it’s like. It was not pretty. It looked, well, like nothing…
When i decided it’s enough cooking, i took it out, the water in the pot was still pitch black, well turquoise in fact, if you spooned out a little. I wasn’t happy with the first skein and i also didn’t know what to do with that water that was still full of pigment. Again, didn’t put much thought into it and just put the two unsoaked (did soak the other two as well as the Knitcrate yarn), still twisted skeins into the pot and let them simmer. Both skeins instantly turned the colour they then stayed – bright turquoise, but the water in the pot was still as dark as ever. I let those two skeins cook for twenty minutes or so and then i took them out. The water hadn’t cleared up one bit, clearly i used wayyyyy too much dye.
For my last skein, that was pre-speckled at the same time as the first one and was just chilling on the side the whole time, i decided to use fresh water. I got it to a simmer and popped the skein in. The exact thing happened again – water went black and the skein looked like vomit. Although slightly different shade of vomit, which i found interesting as both skeins were specked the same way, roughly with the same amount of pigment. The only difference being it sat on the side for an hour and that i used fresh batch of water in the pot, the first skein was still using the acidic water from dying with Koolaid.
It was a flop. Overall, i can’t call this a successful activity, it was a flop. It has put me off starting a yarn-dying business anytime soon, however, it hasn’t discouraged me trying it again. There’s still plenty of dye left in my kit, so i’m looking to try it again soon. I have since then watched a couple of videos of how to do it correctly, so i have a lot more understanding of what i should be doing next time.
Still, i’m happy that i tried it and that i could actually make something out of it. One skein being 50g, i’m happy i did two at the time. That gave me enough yarn to make something wearable. Although the other two skeins aren’t identical, they are similar enough so i’m thinking of making another snood like this just alternating the skeins. It will be a great snood for a gloomy dark autumn evening or average day here in Manchester.