Although I have not had a huge amount of time to spend dying, and I also can’t invest in skeins and skeins of bare yarn, I have done a little more and have played with a comparison between different yarns and different techniques.

I now have ten different colours of acid dye. I expanded my collection recently after deciding I wanted to get the primary colours to begin experimenting with mixing colours. I am familiar with the basic colour wheel and know what colours are pleasing to me both by themselves and side by side but my crafting up until now has not involved any mixing of colour or creating my own palette. I have purely put pre-made colours together into my handcraft. So mixing colours and seeing the outcomes of that on yarn has been interesting and exciting.

I have prepared each colour as a dye stock. Up until now my experimenting with dye has been sprinkling the powder directly into hot vinegary water and watching it mix and react with the yarn.

This time I had a thought process of wanting to try a different method and these are the results.

Skein 1

  • 100% wool
  • pre-soaked in plain water, then bought up to temperature in plain water
  • small amounts of mixed and diluted dye stock added to the water
  • started with a yellow, then added a light blue and gun metal
  • At this point I thought I had what I wanted, so added vinegar to the water and set the dye.

After it dried, it was way too pale, and there was too much white and very light yellow for my liking. So it got another bath!

Second round:

  • bought the skein up to temperature in water that just covered it
  • applied diluted colour to patches that seemed the lightest, turning the wool and adding little bits all over of all of colours (and combinations of them)
  • Finishing with a final vinegar treatment at the end to set everything.

Skein 2

  • 85% super wash merino, 15% nylon
  • pre-soaked in plain water, heavily twisted into a skein
  • mixed a custom green and added the dye to hot vinegary water before adding the skein
  • let the dye exhaust, turning the skein as it soaked for even coverage
  • took the yarn out, unravelled it, then returned it to a fresh pot of hot vinegary water (low level)
  • focussed on the white sections, squirting pure dye solution directly on the yarn.
I love both skeins. Love them for their differences and what I learned from the mixing and diluting process and from the different ways that yarn takes up the dye.