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Sidestep into dying

As payment for taking the gorgeous pictures for my Waldhaus socks (and lot’s of other brilliant pics) I’m knitting my friend the socks again.

The colour choices will be inspired by a test knit for the pattern. But in just monochrome black/gray/white.

As I could not find a sockyarn that has a gradient from white to black and would not cost more in shipment then in yarn.

So famous last words: I do that myself.

I searched who to dye gradient colour changes. There are two methods I found. And of cause I needed to try both.

I bought a white skein of sock yarn and split it into two equal parts, one for each sock.

For both methods you need:

– 1 skein of yarn, natural fibers
– Dye, I used Jacquard dye in black
– white vinegar
– Rubber gloves
– Old pot or jars

The ball method:
In this method you roll a ball. The tension you give your yarn while forming the ball will determent how deep the dye will get into the ball.

Prepare the dye according to what it says on the bottle!

 Use near boiling water and enough that your yarn ball can swim in it and is covered all around.

When the dye is prepared and in the jar push the yarn ball into the solution while it’s still hot. You may want to put a weight, like a spoon, on the yarn ball so it’s covered with the dye solution and doesn’t float on top of it.

Now the waiting begins.

You can check from time to time if the colour on the surface is the one you want as the darkest shade.
I waited until the solution was cold and was sitting on the bottom of the yarn rather the floating on the top.

Take the yarn out of the solution.
Re-skein the yarn and wash it until it doesn’t bleed anymore. Washing the ball will not take all exessive dye out.

Last step is to let the yarn dry and marvel over the fact what you have done 🙂

Fazit: The yarn is a bit spotty rather then a long gradient in colour and there is more white in it then I hoped for. Next time I’ll roll a looser ball. The spotted look of the yarn was unexpected but looks fun.

Serial dilution method
The second method needs a bit more work.
You need around 3 jars that will have different concentrations of dye in them, or different colours if you want to go from one colour to the next. But you can use as many yars as you want.

Soak the yarn in water with vinegar to absorb as much water as possible.

Make small skeins out of the yarn that are loose enough so the dye can go everywhere. Make as many as many skeins as you have jars, I made one more as the last one stays white.

For the serial dilution I made a very strong solution with the 6 sppons of water.
The first jar got 1 teaspoon of the dye the second 2 spoons, the third the rest(3 spoons).
Then measured out the same among of boiling water for every jar.

Stick the mini-skein of yarn into the jars, one skein per jar.
With a spoon soak the bits of yarn that run between the jars so you don’t have white bits in the yarn where you don’t want them.

And wait again.

After all dye is soaked into the yarn take the yarn out of the jars and (yes) wait for it to cool.
Wash the yarn until it stops bleeding and let it dry.

Re-skein the yarn and finally start knitting with it.

Fazit: Next time I would use more jars and have more solutions to have a more gradient colour change. The change from the last gray to the white is very hard. But I’m really happy how it turned out.


About Atalante

Knitter, sewer, spinner. Way to many comic books, yarn and Doctor Who DVDs at home to call it healthy but I love it.

One response »

  1. Pingback: Waldhaus part 2 | Atalante Knits

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