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Phaedra28
Gabber Extraordinaire

485 Posts

Posted - 03/05/2003 :  11:23:39 AM  Show Profile Send Phaedra28 a Private Message
Congratulations to mid30sknitter on her newly dyed yarns! Woohoo!

Since those were one color, and you wanted to learn handpainting next, I figured I'd open a new topic for you. Ain't I nice?

Let's see, I've dyed a bunch of different types of yarns, from brushed mohair to pure cotton, including wools, cotton/rayon blends, boucles, etc. I've used the same dyes each time: basic procion dyes; except for one experiment with icing dyes after reading an article in Cast On about it. The icing dyes were OK, but I like the procion better -- if only because I already know how to get the job done.

As far as equipment goes, I've used spray mist bottles, squirt bottles, and just kinda pouring the dye on from whatever I mixed it in. The squirt bottles are my favorites so far, but I always make my yarn totally wild mixtures -- no nice, even stripes in the hank, just totally random. If I were going for a more even effect, I'd probably choose a different method. The spray bottles, since they only spray a mist, are not as useful to me, but they'd work well for different effects. The cotton and rayon yarns are easier to dye, since they don't have to be heatset, but I've had good results in the wool and mohair dying by using the top of a steamer. I wrap the yarn in plastic wrap, then package it in aluminium foil so that it can't leak. Put the yarn in the cold steamer, then add heat. That helps avoid felting. Microwaving hasn't worked for me, though. The bags always seemed to melt!

When I handpaint, I put plastic garbage bags in the kitchen sink (only non-plastic basin available), take the yarn from the mordant and squeeze out the excess moisture. The dyes are mixed on the balcony or in the bathroom -- always with a face mask -- and I mix the dye with urea and salt in baby food jars with a little water. Then, at the sink, I put some of the dye mixtures into a squeeze bottle with more water, and start either squeezing or drizzling the dye onto the yarn. When I'm done with each hank or group of hanks, I carefully lift them out of the sink, wrap the hank around with the plastic wrap so that the dyed areas don't mix with each other and get muddy, and then coil the wrapped hanks up and package in several layers of foil. Then, onto the stove top. After the yarn has cooked, I let it cool off naturally, to prevent felting, and then it goes into several cycles of rinsing. In the end -- if all goes well -- I have some lovely yarn to play with.

For cotton, I do the same thing, except that instead of putting the yarn into foil, I put it into a plastic bag and let it sit for a day or two. Cotton is harder, since it requires patience.

OK, who's next? mid30sknitter, you'll be trying the handpainted dying soon, right?

kdcrowley
Permanent Resident

USA
4773 Posts

Posted - 03/05/2003 :  12:47:56 PM  Show Profile  Visit kdcrowley's Homepage Send kdcrowley a Private Message
I have some superwash waiting to be dyed/painted. Naturally I forgot to get some Basic H to use as a wetting agent. Anyway, i have all this roving that is waiting to be spun and plan to spin some of it up first, before doing the dying.

And since the spinning wheel has me fully in its grasp, I will just comply and spin my heart away until it lets me off for good behaviour.

Kelley

Everywhere you go, there you are! Imagine that....
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kdcrowley
Permanent Resident

USA
4773 Posts

Posted - 03/07/2003 :  10:09:05 AM  Show Profile  Visit kdcrowley's Homepage Send kdcrowley a Private Message
quote:

I have some superwash waiting to be dyed/painted. Naturally I forgot to get some Basic H to use as a wetting agent. Anyway, i have all this roving that is waiting to be spun and plan to spin some of it up first, before doing the dying.

And since the spinning wheel has me fully in its grasp, I will just comply and spin my heart away until it lets me off for good behaviour.

Kelley

Everywhere you go, there you are! Imagine that....



I gots my Basic H and now I can dye the roving that I have waiting....



Kelley

Everywhere you go, there you are! Imagine that....
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MichelleKS
New Pal

45 Posts

Posted - 03/07/2003 :  12:55:24 PM  Show Profile  Visit MichelleKS's Homepage Send MichelleKS a Private Message
Thanks Phaedra. I am indeed intrigued with handpainting. First I need to get some knitting done then I can think about buying more yarn to dye! The next project will be a hand painting project though.

Michelle
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CAJill
New Pal

29 Posts

Posted - 03/07/2003 :  2:58:00 PM  Show Profile Send CAJill a Private Message
I am glad someone started this topic. I have some old Bernat Danish Bulky yarn that I thought would be improved by handpainting, since it is about the same gauge and twist as Colinette yarns, and if I plied two strands together, I would have something equivalent to Point 5. But I don't really have much time to experiment with handpainting techniques. I just have vague "Ideas" from the Handpaint Country book from Knitters. I have dyed wool yarn and fabric for rugs and needlepoint before, using Cushings Dyes, but always in solid colors. I am wondering if there is some guideline for size of color repeat for different yarn thicknesses to avoid the striping effect?
I understand that there is a sock knitting book that actually has good ideas and instructions. Have other knitters turned dyers found this to be true?

Any other info that people would like to share that produces a nice result(not too blotchy, without producing one strange color from dye runs, etc) would be appreciated.
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Phaedra28
Gabber Extraordinaire

485 Posts

Posted - 03/08/2003 :  8:48:04 PM  Show Profile Send Phaedra28 a Private Message
Guessing that the book is The Twisted Sisters sock book, and it looks really, really cool to me! I've gone through it in bookstores, but can't really afford to buy it right now. It does have a fair amount about dying, which is part of why I want it.

In general, if you want to avoid striping, I guess you could check your gauge, work out how much yarn it takes to knit a row, and then plan accordingly, but I'm way to disorganized for that! (Also, being that disorganized, I usually dye the yarn, then plan the project: often having to plan twice, from not having enough yarn to produce the first idea.) Being, obviously, more organized than I am, you might try checking out the available handpaints in your LYS, and extrapolate. I've found that most that I've seen are about a third or a sixth of the size of the hank. I know, that doesn't help much, but it might if you think about it: it basically says to use thirds for figuring purposes.

Ah, well, my random thoughts, for whatever they're worth. Good luck, and have fun! Dye play is a ton of fun for me, and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do!


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kdcrowley
Permanent Resident

USA
4773 Posts

Posted - 03/10/2003 :  11:16:01 AM  Show Profile  Visit kdcrowley's Homepage Send kdcrowley a Private Message
quote:


In general, if you want to avoid striping,


You can also work with two skeins of yarn, alternating between them with each row. Not having done it, I am not sure of the results. Yet.

Kelley

Everywhere you go, there you are! Imagine that....
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KathyR
Permanent Resident

New Zealand
2969 Posts

Posted - 03/10/2003 :  2:02:47 PM  Show Profile  Visit KathyR's Homepage Send KathyR a Private Message
Ways to avoid striping - Yes, using two balls of wool and alternating them every second row does work. Just make sure that you don't start at the same position in the colourway. Stocking stitch (stockinette) is also not the best stitch to use if striping is a problem. Experiment by swatching using different stitches. Even seed stitch can help with this problem. If I remember correctly, a past issue of SpinOff ran an article which could help. Sorry, I can't remembe rwhich one, I just seem to think that it was a few years ago. Handpaint Country shows a number of different stitches used in their patterns. Perhaps one of those could be inspirational.

But remember, it is all a matter of taste. Some people like the striping and pooling of colour of handpainted yarns - others don't! There is no right answer, yet again.

KathyR
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barb.duncan@newswire.ca


Posts

Posted - 03/13/2003 :  10:38:01 AM  Show Profile Send barb.duncan@newswire.ca a Private Message
Have just been reading Phaedra's comments on dyeing and particularly interested in the fact that steaming is used partly to avoid felting.

This has been a real problem for me using merino fleece. I've basically ruined 2 or 3 batches of beautiful soft roving, even though I was careful not to let the water reach the boiling point.

I wondered if it was the heat or the length of time I needed to have the dye get fully absorbed into the fibre.

Anyway - thanks - will try
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Phaedra28
Gabber Extraordinaire

485 Posts

Posted - 03/13/2003 :  11:27:00 AM  Show Profile Send Phaedra28 a Private Message
Not the heat, so much as the CHANGE in temperature, that causes the felting. The trick with any of the heatsetting methods is to start with cool water, cool fiber, and then heat them together -- fairly slowly -- and then cooling them slowly. The last part -- cooling the water and fiber slowly -- is probably the key to avoiding felting. When I'm heatsetting dyes in wool, I leave the yarn in the little package in the steamer on the stove for several hours -- until it's all cool enough for me to touch with my bare hands. Then, I take the yarn out of the steamer and unwrap it and let it cool a little more in the open air before delicately dunking it into the tepid water for its first rinse. No agitation, I like calm yarn, no wringing, nothing like that. Just dunk it in, maybe swirl it a little if there's a lot of bleeding, then gently squeeze through some nice synthropol to remove any dye residue, then into a nice, tepid rinse in the other basin. Back and forth, if need be, until the water is clear, and the yarn looks happy.

If I have a fair amount of yarn, and can't just squeeze excess water out, I'll put it in a salad spinner to spin it damp. Only if my husband isn't there to see me, though! After spinning, I'll maybe wrap it in a towel to get a little more out, maybe not, and hang it up to dry.

The key to avoiding felting, though, isn't temperature per se, but changing temperatures and agitation. A rolling boil creates enough friction to cause some felting, but a gentle simmer shouldn't be a problem, as long as the fiber goes in before the heat comes on.

Good luck!

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kdcrowley
Permanent Resident

USA
4773 Posts

Posted - 03/13/2003 :  1:14:41 PM  Show Profile  Visit kdcrowley's Homepage Send kdcrowley a Private Message
quote:

If I have a fair amount of yarn, and can't just squeeze excess water out, I'll put it in a salad spinner to spin it damp. Only if my husband isn't there to see me, though!



With yarn, I tie the skein in several places, and then spin it in the washer. DH would die if he saw me using the salad spinner for dyed yarn, especially as he is convinced that I am going to kill us all with my 'highly-toxic' dyes and paints.....never mind that he thinks nothing of breaking out the Raid when the ants come marching in....

Besides, the kitchen sink is usually cleaner after I get done than when I started....as I actually clean it!

Kelley

Everywhere you go, there you are! Imagine that....
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