After dyeing our Easter eggs, I hesitated to pour out the remaining dye. Since vinegar has been difficult to find during the 2020 Corona virus outbreak, I felt guilty wasting what vinegar was used in the dye. I knew I could use it on my yarn, but it was such a little amount of liquid color. There was no way I could fully soak the yarn in a pan/pot. However, I recently worked with a hand-painted yarn that resembled color splashed onto the yarn. So I thought I would mimic the effect on some bare yarn in my stash. It turned out even better than I imagined, and it was easy to do!
Materials: 3 hanks of bare superwash wool (any weight or ply, I find mine at Knit Picks), 1 box Paas egg dye, 6 small cups, measuring spoons, measuring cups, 6 Tbsps white vinegar, 2-3 cups water, large plastic table cloth or plastic wrap, wool wash, large sink with stopper, latex or plastic gloves
To avoid a large mess or staining the counter, I used a large plastic table cloth to cover the counter. Plastic wrap may be used in substitution, but make sure the entire working surface is covered. Mix the dyes according to package directions and put aside. Be sure to wear gloves, as this dye will likely stain your fingers for a few days (and make them smell like vinegar).
Unwind the bare yarn and spread it across the plastic tablecloth. Try to spread out the single strands of yarn so that you can cover more area when you dye the top layer. The more yarn strands that can be seen, the better.
Begin sprinkling the dye all over the yarn using a spoon and shaking it across the wool. I suggest using one color at a time to evenly space the colors. Only use half of the dye, as you’ll need to do the back side of the yarn too. Once one side of the yarn is dyed to preference, flip the yarn over to do the alternate side. Flipping the yarn is very important, or only half of the hank may be colored and make for some uneven coloring when crafting.
After the yarn has let the dye set in, rinse your yarn with running water in the sink. Then prepare your wash. Plug the sink and add a gallon of water. Use a the appropriate amount of wool wash (per gallon) and mix with the water to bubble. Carefully put the yarn in the wool wash to rinse out excess dye and condition the yarn. With very agitation (to avoid tangling), let the yarn soak in the wash for 20 minutes.
Drain the water and carefully push out excess water. Do not wring or twist the yarn or it may stretch out the fiber. Hang or lay the yarn on a drying rack and allow to air dry. This sometimes takes 24 hours (or longer on other yarn bases like cotton).*
*I prefer to lay my yarn flat on a drying rack. I then place the drying rack over a heating vent. Occasionally, I will flip and turn the yarn so that it dries evenly.
Once the yarn is COMPLETELY dry, twist and hank the yarn for storage.
To hank yarn, twist it tightly and fold it in the middle. Readjust the twists so that the yarn is evenly spaced. Then take one end of the twist and pull it through the other to keep it closed.
This color splash method may be used with other dyes and other fibers. The technique is pretty simple and fun! If you’re a beginner dyer, I suggest using the Paas egg dye. It is affordable and a single use amount. For experienced dyers, you may try this making your own colors in tiny batches. If you try this technique, please tag me on Instagram or Facebook, as I would love to see your color splash yarn!
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