My Evening of Wool Dying

Martina from Yarn to Knit kindly invited me to her studio in East London where she dyes her own wool. At the moment Martina is hand dying wool in preparation for the I Knit Weekender where Yarn to Knit will be exhibiting.

This is what the stash is looking like so far. I had to do all I could to not stuff a few skeins in my bag.

The first stage was to get the table ready. A sheet of plastic over the whole of the table and then a roll of cling film all the way from one end to the other, secured with grips on either side. The cling film is important as it was used later to wrap the yarn in for when it goes in the microwave. Second stage was to put on some old clothes – it can be a messy job.

Next part was getting the dye all mixed. All it took was a teaspoon of the dye and some warm water. I decided to go for a sunset type skein – red, orange and yellow. Apparently you can also use onion skins to dye wool. Click here for a tutorial I found online with lots of photos for instruction (scroll down the page though).

Be warned it takes a long time to collect enough onion skins!

For this skein I used double knitting 100% pure wool (and yes at this stage I am thinking I could use it for felting . . . ). The wool needs to soak for about 30 minutes or longer for the fibre to open up to absorb the dye properly.

The skein is then laid out flat on the table ready to by dyed now. I used flat sponge brushes to pat the dye onto and into the wool. With the gloves on, I simply paited different sections of the skein a different colour. I did have to be careful though to not let any red dye drop onto the yellow painted section as the dye takes instantly and polka dots were not the look I had in mind!


Now with the skein completely dyed I then wrapped in the cling film. This was really easy as the skein was placed on top of the cling film so all I had to do was lift the edges off the table and wrap the wool. It is then placed in a Tupperware and into the microwave for a full 4 minutes, then you need a minute of cooling time and back into the microwave it goes.

Wrapped up well and totally covered in cling film ready for the microwave

After it cooled down I just needed to rinse the skein until the wool ran almost clear.

It is now drying . . . photos of the finished skein coming soon!

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