Sunday 7 July 2024

Vibrant colours!

During this summer I planned to dye a lot of yarn. The winter I’ve been spinning like mad to be able to dye as much yarn as I wanted in summer. Yet, I had not started yet and I don’t really know what held me back. However, when looking through my drawers and other storage of dye stuff, I came across nice plant dyeing materials, but also two packages of Landscape dyes, each with 4 portions to dye 100 grams of wool in matching colours. Years back, before Covid, I was at the weaversmarket in Hoorn, a yearly market for all kind of fiber related stuff, from fleeces to buttons to patterns/books to weaving materials or dye stuff, plant based as well as acid dyes. I remember selecting two of those packages with colours not easily obtained with plants: aqua/turquoise and pink/orange.

Now it was time to start using the electric dye pot, with timer, thermostat and a little tap to empty it! It was a birthday present to myself earlier this year and had been standing on a shelf until now.

It was great fun to dye with the Landscape dyes. Much faster than dyeing with plants and the colours! They are so intense, strong, vibrant! Look here the aqua colours:

The first dyebath, with the colours Opal, Pacific, Kingfisher and Sage from left to right.

And the dye stuff wasn’t all absorbed by the (nearly) 100 g of yarn that went in the dyebath, so here are the second bath results:

The second portion in each dye bath, as there was still colour in the water.

From the pink/orange set of colours there is no overview picture, but here you can see the first of the four in the dye pot:

Now this pops! Colour name is Fuchsia.

And how do I keep track of which skein is which? Well, some weeks ago I bought a bag of haberdasheries in the second hand store close to us, and there were lots of buttons in that bag (it was a kind of 'surprise bag', really fun to unpack) and those buttons came in handy. Each skein got a button and the label of the skein got a matching one. And yes, the white buttons on the skeins weren't very white after dyeing.

It is very nice to be able to knit with subtle, natural colours like white, various shades of grey and brown, but a pop of colour in all the neutrals often make a project stand out. Now, I have lots and lots of colour pops to use!

The only concern I had is that the dye pot thermostat, or the heating, caused the water to bubble in some places. Acid dyes need temperatures around 90 degrees Celsius, which is close to 100 of course, and I noted this bubbling, which means it was boiling at times and in some spots, when the automatic heater went on to maintain the 90 degrees. This is not good, as boiling makes the wool less soft. I think it can be solved by having more water in the pot, and the other ‘comfort’ is that plant dyeing does usually not require 90 degrees, so the thermostat can have a lower setting futher away from boiling.

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