So you’ve got your beautiful bare yarn, you’ve got your dyes, now what? You’re probably wondering how to turn that gorgeous undyed yarn into the dyed yarn of your dreams. Or you might be an experienced dyer with a simmering question or a technique you’ve been stumbling over. At KNOMAD, no question is too big or small! We aim to support you at every step of your fiber journey, so today we’re answering some of the most common dyeing questions we receive here at Knomad. If you have a question we didn’t answer, go ahead and ask in the comments!
This is a super frequently asked question here at Knomad! My first tip is to soak your yarn super well. You’ll want to completely and gently submerge your yarn in a solution of a couple gallons of water with a dash of citric acid for at least an hour before you start dyeing. Soaking your yarn opens up the surface of the fibers so they are ready to accept the dye. When you remove the yarn from the soaking solution, gently squeeze the excess water out of the yarn. When you mix your dye solution, make sure to use very hot water to fully dissolve the dye powder. When preparing your dye bath, stir super well and add your dye before adding your yarn. Add your yarn all at once, before heating your dye bath.
Crisp speckles are much easier to obtain when you dye on superwash wool, like Marshmallow worsted and DK, or blends with a lot of superwash wool like Steam and Snowdrift. Superwash wool absorbs dye super quickly. This means the color of the speckle is absorbed before it has a chance to dissolve and disperse in the water. Another tip is to use just a small amount of liquid in your dye pan. Your yarn should be only partially submerged in the liquid. You should be able to see plenty of your yarn above the surface of the water.
Mixing the dye powder with an equal amount of citric acid also helps make speckles crisp. Make sure to mix only what you need for the day’s dyeing session, or store the mix in an airtight container. Since citric acid attracts moisture, the mix can easily become wet and spoil.
If you’re not dyeing with superwash yarn, it’s a good idea to slightly heat your yarn before sprinkling the dye powder and citric acid mix on the yarn.
Dye solution is considered toxic and should not be disposed in your sink. Additionally, most dye suppliers recommend storing mixed dye solution for no longer than five days. This is because the color starts to degrade when stored too long, so results will be different than expected. Check with your dye manufacturer for information relevant to their products.
Since you can’t store dye, what we recommend is using any leftover dye solution to dye single or a couple, one of a kind skeins. When dyed on yarns that are good for single skein projects like sock yarns, knitters tend to enjoy purchasing a one of a kind skein, because it feels special and exciting.
If you can’t find a use for extra dye solution, look for a hazardous waste collection in your area.
For exhausted dye bath, you’ll want to neutralize the PH of the bath using baking soda. Test the ph of the dye bath using ph strips before pouring down the drain.