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Hand Painted Rainbow on EGRET

By Amy Reader on July 15, 2022

EGRET is a single-ply, 100% fine organic merino wool that dyes up beautifully. One of my favorite ways to dye EGRET yarn is to hand paint it. The soft single-ply shows color transitions, so it’s fun for bright multicolor dye treatments. Today we are going to hand paint a rainbow on EGRET. This dyeing method creates little rainbows when you knit or crochet with it. Let’s get started!

before2

SUPPLIES

Two skeins EGRET

Plastic wrap

½ and ¼ Teaspoon

Tablespoon

Measuring cups

Citric Acid

Dharma Acid Dye in Hyacinth, Flamingo Pink, Brilliant Yellow, True Turquoise, and Baby Blue Eyes

Five glass jars

Five large foam brushes

Masking tape and marker

Slow cooker or steel pot with lid + heat source

Steaming rack

Tongs

Gloves

Apron

Respirator mask

Large bowl

Water

Newspapers or garbage bags (optional)

Salad spinner or yarn spinner (optional)

*Any materials used in acid dyeing are no longer food safe and should be kept separate 

presoak

PRESOAK

Fill the large bowl with cool water leaving two inches of room at the top, and dissolve two tablespoons of citric acid into the water. Submerge both skeins of EGRET in the water. Allow the yarn to soak in the water for at least one hour. The yarn should darken by one to two shades and be even in color throughout. A thorough presoak allows the dye to absorb evenly and more thoroughly for better results. 

PREPARE THE DYE

Use your marker and masking tape to label each of your jars with the name of the dye – one dye per jar. Fill the bottom inch of each jar with the hottest water from your tap. Before opening the dye, put on your respirator, gloves, and apron. Next, dissolve ½ teaspoon of Hyacinth into the jar labeled Hyacinth. After that, dissolve ¼ teaspoon of the remaining dye colors into their corresponding jars. Finally, dissolve a dash of citric acid into each jar. I used one tablespoon distributed evenly across all the jars. 

Top off the jars with lukewarm tap water and stir gently one more time. Take care to scrape the bottom and sides well to dissolve all dye and citric acid powder. 

TIP: We will use all the Hyacinth dye solution, but you may have some other colors left over. You can screw a lid on the jars with extra dye and use them for other projects.

PREPARE THE DYE SURFACE

Protect your work surface by laying down newspapers or trash bags to protect from stray dye drips. If you have a dedicated dyeing table, this step is optional. Layer plastic wrap on the table. Cover with plastic wrap with at least 25% more surface area than the skeins, about a 2-foot by 3-foot surface area. Overlap the plastic wrap by 6 inches. We will use the plastic wrap layer to steam set the yarn in a later step, so it is vital to get a good base so it does not fall apart later on. 

APPLY THE DYE

Remove your two skeins of EGRET undyed yarn from their presoak. Squeeze out the excess water from the skeins. You can expel the excess water with a yarn spinner or salad spinner dedicated to yarn dyeing. The skeins should be damp but not dripping wet. 

Lay the two skeins down on the plastic wrap from earlier. Spread them out so that there is an even surface area. I started on the left side and worked towards the right. For this process, we will work in thirds. The far left and far right thirds will be dyed with Hyacinth. The remaining colors will be applied in even stripes across the middle third. Start with the Hyacinth dye and use a large foam brush to apply it to the left third of the skeins. 

Next, apply the Flamingo Pink dye in a two-inch stripe leaving a small section of undyed yarn between the Flamingo Pink and Hyacinth dye. Use a large foam brush and work slowly. I like to use a two-inch wide brush to measure the width of the stripe I am creating. 

Continue applying each color in two-inch sections using the Brilliant Yellow next, followed by the True Turquoise and Baby Blue Eyes. Leave a small strip of undyed yarn between each color. Apply the remaining Hyacinth dye to the remaining undyed third of the yarn. Once the base layer of all the colors is applied, go back and gently blend the colors by adding dye to the gaps between the bands of color. In the first gap, carefully blend Hyacinth and Flamingo pink to create a shade of violet. In the second, blend Flamingo Pink and Brilliant Yellow to make orange. This creates a whole rainbow in the center of the skein. Use a light hand as the dye will spread during the steam-setting process. 

STEAM

Fold the excess plastic wrap around the top of the dyed yarn. If you do not have enough plastic wrap to completely cover the top of the yarn, you can lay an extra sheet or two of plastic wrap over the top. Then, fold the plastic-wrapped yarn in half and roll it into a tight bundle. 

Place a steam rack in the bottom of your slow cooker. Fill the bottom of the pot with one inch of water. Place your plastic-wrapped bundle of yarn on top of the steam rack, place the lid on the pot, and turn the heat on high. Once steam rises, let the yarn set for at least 30 minutes. 

COOL, RINSE, AND DRY

After the yarn has finished setting, remove the lid and allow it to cool down completely. The bundle of plastic-wrapped yarn should be cool to the touch before you remove it from the pot. Once you have removed the yarn, unroll it carefully as the inside may still be warm. Allow the yarn to cool after unrolling it from its plastic wrap. Once it is cool, rinse the yarn until the water runs clear with cool water. Hang to dry. 

THE FINISHED YARN

The finished yarn will have a vibrant rainbow in the center! This dyeing method creates delightful rainbows when you knit or crochet with it. EGRET is a lightweight yarn that shows off vibrant colors well, and this rainbow is perfect for it! I think I am going to knit socks with my rainbow yarn. What will you create with yours? Let us know in the comments!

Don’t forget to share your beautiful hand-dyed creations with us on social media by tagging @knomad_yarn and #knomadyarn. We can’t wait to see what you make! 

 

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Amy Reader

Amy Reader is a fiber artist based in Portland, OR. She learned to sew when she was six years old and quickly fell in love with textiles of all kinds. With the help of her grandmother, Amy learned to knit and crochet shortly thereafter. Amy started dyeing with kitchen safe dyes and was immediately hooked. She loves working with bold and playful colors and primarily dyes yarn for her line of hand-embroidered jewelry.

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