I’ve been dying to share this

June 6, 2010 § 4 Comments

So as many of you know, I sell hand-dyed and reclaimed yarn in my store BKYarn.

I recently have tried to become more adventurous in my endeavors. This led me to a website that lists  hundreds of plants/spices/berries that can be used for dying fabric, so I chose to play around with the idea with some yarn that needed to be colored.

I had unraveled a wool/acrylic blend sweater, and had some reclaimed cotton yarn lying around, so I thought I should test this new process out!

Which dye did I try first???

I thought that blackberries and blueberries would be a perfect berry for this project. Summer brings the thoughts of ripe juicy berries, so why not dye with them? Purposefully this time, not just staining those bright white shirts.

The website was pretty good at telling me what colors certain ingredients would bring to the table, and how to prepare the yarn.

Since I was using berries, I needed to simmer 2 cups of salt in 32 cups of water with the yarn in the mix for an hour.

The berries were prepared by putting two parts water to berries in a pan and let that reach a boil, and then brought down to a simmer (also for an hour), I used a masher to release the natural pigments of the berries once they were soft enough to do so.

If you do this, make sure you wear old clothing and be very careful with all of the ingredients, if they dye yarn, they will dye everything else!

The website said that the  berries would be a blue-purple, yet I found that they were  more of a red with a hint of purple. Luckily it wasn’t pink, otherwise we might have had a meltdown.

After straining the chunks out of the dye, I was prepared to use it.

Since the yarn pre-soak and the dye preparation took the same amount of time, I was able to get the yarn in the dye right away!

I poured the pre-soak saline solution out, and just used the same pot I did for the pre-soak, for the dye bath.  I poured about 12 cups of hot water into the yarn pot and then poured the dye in (about 4 cups of liquid)

This was allowed to soak/boil for another hour, I then moved the dye bath and the yarn into a seal-able bucket and let is soak overnight so as much of the dye would be soaked into the yarn.

I pulled the yarn out the next morning and squeezed as much dye as I could out, and then rinsed the yarn in cold water until it ran clear.  Since the dye bath was nothing but dilute berry juice, I was able to pour the liquid into the compost bin!

The yarn was left out in the nice sunny heat of a summer day and was dry by that evening.

I did notice that the cotton yarn took the dye better than the wool, but both yarns were tinted with only a slight but of color.

the pic on the left shows the comparison of the dyed yarns (cotton on the left, wool/acrylic on the right)

the pic on the right shows a comparison of the dyed and un-dyed wool yarn

You can see the slight mauve tint to the yarn.

Nonetheless, the process was fun and quite educational for me, so it wasn’t a complete  loss by any means!

If you would like to purchase said yarn, follow this link!

Thank you for reading, and please remember if you liked this post, comment and share it with your friends!

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§ 4 Responses to I’ve been dying to share this

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