7 April 2010

Hand-dye Days

My big girls painting their own yarn.Playsilks. :) Jenna did the flower mandala silk herself.
Poor exhausted babies! Oh, and please send prayers and wishes for Emma's friend Ellen who is in labour right now with her second baby (five weeks early!) - Emma has gone to be with her and left Connor (and Chris) here for a while. Such an exciting amazing time for their family!Some of the finished yarns, dry and ready for winding. What an amazing week, I can't wait now to start some projects with it all. :)

4pm: Ellen Update, labour has stopped so she should be home soon, with a little while longer to prepare for baby's arrival! :)


  1. Oh my goodness, how fab!

    Please, please, please do a quick tutioral on how you dyed the wool (and where you got the plain wool from etc), what dyes you used etc.

    This looks like great fun!

  2. Joxy - the dyes are acid dyes and we got them, and fixants and some of the undyed fibres, from www.dtcrafts.com - more of the undyed yarns are from Fyberspates (huge great "jumper hanks" of dk), and also from Bluefaced.com (the chunky wool). Rainbow silks (.co.uk) also sell the dyes and mordants etc.

    I plan to do a koolaid dye session with the girls another time, as the acid dyes were harder for them to use (especially the powder is toxic so needs to be mixed by adults, but it's considered safe when wet).

    Some of the yarns are hand-painted segment by segment and then either put in a bag and steamed, or wrapped in clingfilm first (this kept the colours "cleaner"). We have also done some colours in a huge pan on the stove, immersion dying, and even tried using food-bag clips along the length before re-dying another colour to get tweeds. :)

    The possibilities! I can imagine getting quite carried away with trying natural dyes and koolaid too, though even those options aren't totally non-toxic (and natural dyes can use pretty harsh mordants too).

    BTW, blogger won't currently allow me to post your comment, but I shall keep trying!

  3. Ha it's done it now.

    I also meant to say that, except with koolaid, you have to keep separate utensils etc for dying. The steamer and a large pan were our main expenses, but we're intending to use them again (and got them on sale lol). We also needed decorators brushes, little plastic pots for mixing, rubber gloves and aprons, and lots of clingfilm (I've not had so much plastic in the house for many years, so consider well before deciding to have a go on your own)! We spread the cost, the responsibility, and the childcare, by sharing the tasks and purchases between a large group - and by doing a lot in one go (as you can see)!

  4. Okey doke, I will see if any of my Home Ed lot are interested and perhaps we could split the cost between us.

    Thanks for the links, got them bookmarked :-)

  5. Was just going to ask the question about the dyeing process! Where do you get your plain wool from?
    San xx

  6. Our sock yarns were from DT Craft and Design (www.dtcrafts.com) - the Merino/Tencel and the 100% Merino Superwash. The double knit came from fyberspates (100% wool dk "jumper hanks") and the chunky came from Bluefaced.com (100g hanks).

    The chunky has been my favorite, as I love the quick results it gives and it shows off the dyes wonderfully. But I also have some fab sock yarn for lace making, and dyed tons of semi-solid dk for Emma to do amigurumi with. :)

  7. Actually, dyes were from kemtex.co.uk, and the chap on the phone is great to chat to and get advice from. But rest is all correct. A bit of snopping on Ravelry will also have loads of other sites to get undyed yarn from. It's a case of shopping round for the deals (like 1kg of chunky for £22 from bluefaced.com), and for the amounts you want, as some sites only sell in massive amounts.

    Ahhh, tis so much fun all of it! :) Thanks for letting us trash your house! xxx

  8. Lovely, it's so much fun isn't it - creating your own colours.
    Your girls will love having a go with KoolAid too or food colouring works well too - mind they can both stain the skin and especially the nails ;-).
    I do like the colours you get from natural dyeing but as you say the mordants are pretty toxic, if natural. But go have fun with it, you get quite different results.
    Look forward to seeing what you create with them. x

  9. Ah my mistake Ash. :)

    And you are quite welcome, I have loved this week! It has been hard work in places, but so worth it. :D

  10. Oh the silks are beautiful. Would it work with cotton too? x x x

  11. Acid dyes won't, but Procion does. www.rainbowsilks.co.uk have lots of options, kits, fixants, etc for Procion dying. Oh, and cotton scarves sometimes too, I think. xxx


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