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 Dyeing Discussion
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 Clara's Article--Dyeing Your Own Yarn
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frenetic@charter.net
Permanent Resident

1386 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  4:43:52 PM  Show Profile Send frenetic@charter.net a Private Message  Reply with Quote
What about using plants for dyes? I don't know anything about it, but that might be something to check out.

Scroll way down to read about it:

http://lenealve.blogspot.com/2006_10_01_archive.html

http://nhnh.essortment.com/naturaldyeplan_rema.htm

There are books about it too.

Sharon
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Bethany
Permanent Resident

USA
1546 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  4:55:16 PM  Show Profile Send Bethany a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The problem with plants for dyes is the mordants. The safest is alum, but I think even that's not totally non-toxic. I wouldn't think it would be any safer than using standard acid dyes, at any rate.

Are you talking about dying WITH the kids, or dying and you happen to have kids, if that makes any sense. If your kids are going to help with the dying I think I'd stick to Kool Aid until they're older.

If you're doing it yourself... dunno. I don't have kids so I don't really have a feel for these sorts of things, but I think the standard acid dyes are safer than stuff like laundry or dishwasher detergent and certainly safer than most standard cleaning liquids. I wouldn't think there would be a problem if you were careful with them (and certainly don't do what I do, which is to keep leftover stock solution in the fridge...)
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SarahUnreserved
New Pal

1 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  6:16:04 PM  Show Profile  Visit SarahUnreserved's Homepage Send SarahUnreserved a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, I AM a chemist (but I don't play one on tv) and I happen to make dyes for a living. (just not the ones you'd use on yarn)

In my opinion (I'm a chemist, not a toxicologist; I'm prone to being more comfortable around toxic materials than the average Joe) there is little, if any, risk to using your microwave to dye, provided you've wrapped up your yarn/dye packet well and you put it in a microwave safe container that you're not going to use for food prep ever again.

Dye molecules are not volatile - they're not going to escape and fly around your microwave depositing on things and making it unfit for cooking food. The only way you're likely to contaminate yourself is if you leak dye all over the inside of the microwave and then cook something in it without a container.

If these dyes were extremely toxic to use, they wouldn't be available to the general public. I'm not saying you should use them as a dessert topping, but if you're tidy, you and your microwave have little to fear.
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Kade1301
Permanent Resident

France
1438 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2007 :  07:00:03 AM  Show Profile  Visit Kade1301's Homepage Send Kade1301 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm lucky to have a workshop with a hot plate, so I can do my dyeing there, far away from the kitchen (with dedicated equipement, obviously). Other than that, I also feel pretty safe using chemical dyes - as safe as with plants. Because who has ever analyzed the chemical composition of a concentrated solution of sorrel? An article in "Shuttle, spindle and dyepot" suggested that Indigo might contain a number of cancer-causing substances. The other problems with vegetable dyeing is that it's perfect for camouflage uniforms - it's easy to get yellow, green, browns, khaki, and everything in between, but pretty difficult to get nice blues and reds, at least with the plants that grow in temperate climates. I don't think importing some exotic wood from Brazil is more environment-friendly than using a chemical dye - apart from the mordant problem. And with plants you need huge amounts - generally at least the same amount as wool.

However, like Bethany, I don't quite see why the "all in one" dyes are so attractive. I'm pretty sure it's cheaper to buy vinegar by the bottle rather than hidden away in a dyepot. And table salt (I'm not even sure whether it's necessary, but Deb Menz writes to add some, so I do) doesn't cost a lot, either. And you don't need all that much, because (in immersion dyeing) you can re-use the same acid/salt solution for different colors.

On the subject of books: There's "Hands On Dyeing" and "The Dyeing Companion", and the "Twisted Sister's Sock Book". I don't have any of them, because I wanted to buy the "best" right from the start, the "best" supposedly being Deb Menz's "Color in Spinning". That was a big mistake. Color in Spinning is on the whole a good book - but it is about, as the title says, color in spinning. Meaning, there's plenty more than dyeing: blending colors by carding and on hackles, blending fibres on a drumcarder - good stuff for a spinner, but absolutely useless for a beginner in dyeing who has neither drum carder nor hackles. The dyeing information, on the other hand, is not all that exhaustive, and above all limited to one brand of dye (Sabracon/Sabraset). Menz gives very detailed recipes and shows color cards - but they are useless if you don't use the same dyes. Besides, her insisting on exact record keeping takes the fun right out of it for me!

I actually prefer to work with Rachel Brown's "The Weaving, Spinning and Dyeing Book" - but don't buy that book unless you have a strong interest in weaving - that's the book's main part.

Oh, and another thing: I think I saved money by simply buying red, yellow and blue and mixing the other colors - either in the dye pot, or (but that works only for spinners) by carding the dyed fibres together.

And I'd still prefer to have more naturally colored wool!

Klara

http://www.lahottee.info
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Bethany
Permanent Resident

USA
1546 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2007 :  08:21:36 AM  Show Profile Send Bethany a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hmm, my Color in Spinning didn't have any color cards for the recipes. Makes them rather less useful, although I've still been using the book. (It almost makes me want to learn to spin for all the cool additional effects you can get that way!) I also got the Twisted Sisters sock book in the Interweave hurt books sale but haven't had a chance to play around with it yet.
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Kade1301
Permanent Resident

France
1438 Posts

Posted - 09/01/2007 :  03:29:07 AM  Show Profile  Visit Kade1301's Homepage Send Kade1301 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oops, Bethany, sorry - I made that up (I don't use the book all that often) - there's tables with recipes (along the lines of Grape: DOS 3 65 % fuchsia 35 % deep navy), and lots of pretty pictures of color samples elsewhere in the book, but there's actually no relation between the two. Okay, so the book is even less useful for "only-dyers" as I thought... (By the way, what do you think of Menz's sample skeins? In most cases I think "less would have been more" - I find them not beautiful, and they certainly don't motivate me...)

But what's keeping you from taking up spinning! It's a great way to cut down on the cost for yarn - not only is unspun fibre cheaper than yarn, you also have less time for knitting!

Klara

http://www.lahottee.info
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katief
New Pal

2 Posts

Posted - 09/21/2007 :  02:20:04 AM  Show Profile Send katief a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi, I'm a little late to this post, but I get my undyed yarns, dyes etc. from www.dtcrafts.co.uk. They are UK based but I think ship anywhere and they sell in small quantities if you don't want to take the plunge and buy 100g of dye in one go. Debbie Tomkies who owns the company wrote Hand-dyed Yarn Craft Projects which I use as my hand-holding guide for dyeing. It covers procion dyeing on wool and plants and has lots of pics so it's pretty easy to follow. There are some patterns too, which might not interest non-knitter/crocheters, but the patterns also have colour recipes which are quite useful. I also have Hands On Dyeing which is a great beginner book too.

On the microwave subject, this one crops up regularly on other forums and I haven't seen as good a post as SarahUnreserved's one anywhere so thanks for that Sarah . Would it be okay to point people back here if the question pops up again? Sorry but I'm a bit new to this forum so don't know what the "etiquette" is

Thanks

ps. Really enjoying the thread and happy to be among fellow dyers...

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sockjoan
Warming Up

Australia
58 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2011 :  04:01:37 AM  Show Profile Send sockjoan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I love dyeing! I have a couple of stainless-steel stockpots I used on the stovetop for years. Then my stove had to be replaced and I got a ceramic-top on on which I couldn't use my old dyepots. So I acquired a hand-me-down microwave, which is great for small quantities. And then I was asked to do a lot of dyeing, so I went out and bought a portable electric hot-plate on which I can use my big pots. Extra good is that I can use it in the laundry (on top of the washing-machine, with several layers of newspaper), so my kitchen is free for cooking.
Kudos to Clara for pointing out the safety precautions needed!
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lella
Permanent Resident

9712 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2011 :  11:42:53 AM  Show Profile Send lella a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Darma Trading Company sells a lot of different brands of dye, too.

http://www.dharmatrading.com/topnav/dyes/

I love this place.. So much info in the KR!

Lella

PS. I've used onion skins to dye with and so has my DD. I like natural dyes. But cake frosting dyes are great too, I've used them in the crockpot without worry. Kool aid is the next dye for me.

Zippiknits

"Life is good if you don't weaken." Calvin Coolidge
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robinstephanie
Permanent Resident

USA
1247 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2011 :  6:33:54 PM  Show Profile Send robinstephanie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
What kind of onions do people use when they dye? I thought it was yellow onions, but the other day when i was peeling a red onion it really stained the towel I was cutting it on (mangey old towel, we were camping and i needed a clean surface). Do people ever use red onions and if so, what is the color like?

Robinsteph

Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover
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sockjoan
Warming Up

Australia
58 Posts

Posted - 07/12/2012 :  04:51:17 AM  Show Profile Send sockjoan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I love dyeing! I mainly use acid dyes (the ones we get in Australia are called Irganol) with vinegar (cleaning vinegar works fine and is very cheap) and also the all-in-one dyes such as Landscapes. I was given an old microwave that I use only for dyeing; I also have a portable hotplate. I have strictly dedicated utensils for dyeing in, and wear a mask when mixing powders. I do a lot of mixing of colours; I also like to dye on not-quite-white fibres and yarns.
And I'm pedantic about distinguishing between dyeing and dying!
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stitchellen
Warming Up

55 Posts

Posted - 07/12/2012 :  09:34:40 AM  Show Profile Send stitchellen a Private Message  Reply with Quote
[quote]Originally posted by frenetic@charter.net

I read Clara's article about how to dye your own yarn with fascination. I am wondering where one can purchase dyes other than Louet and the yarn also. Can someone recommend sources? I can see another dimension to knitting for some of us now <VBG>. Thanks Clara!
Sharon
WEBS sells Louet Gems fingering yarn. It was on sale for my last order, and I stocked up. Jacquard produces dye for organic fibers and is widely available.]
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stitchellen
Warming Up

55 Posts

Posted - 07/12/2012 :  09:47:45 AM  Show Profile Send stitchellen a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Clara's article on dyeing includes a link to Amazon for 20 ml. syringes. Amazon states that they currently are unavailable. However, Dharma Trading Co. includes syringes among its dyeing tools (two for approx. $5.00). Capacity is in ounces (.75), which would be about 20 ml. Dharma sells everything one needs for dyeing organic or plant fibers, as well as providing excellent free directions for dyeing just about anything.
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hkpdx
New Pal

USA
18 Posts

Posted - 07/23/2012 :  10:26:32 AM  Show Profile Send hkpdx a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have looked all over the Louet website and can't find the Hand Dyeing Kit. What was your source?
Thanks.
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Clara
queen bee

USA
4403 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2012 :  02:43:03 AM  Show Profile  Visit Clara's Homepage Send Clara a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh no!

It looks like they pulled the kit from their Shopatron system after I reprinted the review two weeks ago. (It was definitely there - that's how I was able to update the pricing info.) Here's the original info: http://www.louet.com/specialty/hand_dyed_sock_kit.shtml

I did some hunting for "Gaywool dye kit" and found that Village Spinning and Weaving still has it. Here's the link. So sorry about that.

Clara
Your friendly Knitter's Review publisher
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purlewe
Permanent Resident

1916 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2012 :  07:12:59 AM  Show Profile  Visit purlewe's Homepage Send purlewe a Private Message  Reply with Quote
RobinStephanie-

I once dyed with red onions.. and maybe red cabbage? We dyed easter eggs that way. I don't know about yarn tho. I would say give it a try!

I hope camping was fun!

[quote]Originally posted by robinstephanie

What kind of onions do people use when they dye? I thought it was yellow onions, but the other day when i was peeling a red onion it really stained the towel I was cutting it on (mangey old towel, we were camping and i needed a clean surface). Do people ever use red onions and if so, what is the color like?


Life is not a having and a getting, but a being and a becoming. ~Myrna Loy
http://purlewe.typepad.com/
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robinstephanie
Permanent Resident

USA
1247 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2012 :  5:53:09 PM  Show Profile Send robinstephanie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks, Purlewe! Yes, camping is always fun, even that time it rained for three days straight and we stayed in a barn. Actually, it was especially fun that time. (Rain on the roof, elk visiting, lots of sleeping...)

Thanks for the cabbage and onion info. What did you do to the cabbage and/or red onion before you dyed the eggs?

Robinsteph

Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover
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KathyR
Permanent Resident

New Zealand
2969 Posts

Posted - 07/29/2012 :  5:16:23 PM  Show Profile  Visit KathyR's Homepage Send KathyR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I especially like Gail Callahan's book Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece. This is an excellent resource showcasing many different methods of dyeing yanr and fleece. Also, here in NZ, we have access to another very good all-rounder - Are You Ready to Dye? written by Sandra Dain. This one is, again, simple and easy to follow for beginner dyers using equipment that is easily and cheaply available.

For those wanting to access syringes, have you thought of trying a veterinary or agricultural supply shop? I know they are available from that type of store here.

KathyR

If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got.
My Blog
http://www.flickr.com/groups/kr_members/ (Roselea Fibres)
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