Things you’ll need:
2. Pint (half-liter) canning jars or something similar that can tolerate lots of heat.
3. Dyes and something to set them with.
4. Some kitchen utensils- turkey baster, wooden spoon, colander/sieve/strainer, large bowl. Safety Note- If you are not using food dyes, say acid or plant based dyes, you will need separate equipment. Once you’ve used your stuff with acid or plant dyes it is no longer food safe. Of course, if you use acid dyes regularly you probably already know this.
5. Wool. I would recommend doing this in about 50-100gm batches, anything more will be too crowded in the jars. And use wool!! (I tried some Lion Cotton yesterday and it didn’t take the dye at all. Suck.)
6. Rags, towels or washclothes you don’t mind getting dyed a bit.
Got it all? Excellent. The principle here is that we’re going to use the jars as individual dyebaths and the Crock-Pot as a double boiler. Place your jars in the Pot and fill everything (jars and Pot) about half-full. One jar for each color stripe. I’m doing 3.
When skeining the wool think about how many colors you’re using and how long you want the stripes to be and make your skein an appropriate length. Or just wind it however you like and be surprised by the results. Use plenty of ties!
When your wool is ready for the dyebath squeeze out the excess water and lay the skein out on a towel. *I wasn’t sure how long it would take for me to take good pictures so for the sake of my carpet, I did this with dry wool.*
Now we’re going to shape the skein. I’m going to be dyeing with three colors so I shaped my skein into a triangle. If you’re doing four, make a square… and so on. Next, bring all the sides to the center so you have 3 (or whatever) distinct sections. No one says the sections have to be equal, make whatever shape suits your fancy!
Then you’re going to pick up the skein, keeping the sections separate between your fingers. Like so….
Carry your wool over to the Crock-Pot and carefully feed each section into it’s own jar (personal dyebaths, remember?) I couldn’t take pictures of this as it’s a two handed operation. But knitters are smart, I’m sure you can figure it out. This is the end result.
Now turn on the Crock-Pot, put a lid on it and go knit until the water is hot.
OK, it’s hot. Next mix up your dyes. The food dyes I use (these) need to be dissolved in hot water so I like to use the turkey baster to suck out the hot water from each personal dyebath, use it to dissolve/mix the dye, and pour it back into the same jar. When adding the dye make sure you give each jar several gentle stirs so the dye gets to all the yarn.
Put the lid back on and let it do it’s thing while you knit some more. In an hour or so the wool will have absorbed all the dye and you’ll have clear water. I still find this amazing. At this point you can add more dye to saturate the colors or overdye with different colors, or be done.
Pull the wool out, wash it, rinse it, roll it up in a towel and let your kids help squish it dry…
That’s it! Now go make some sockies for your most dedicated fans. Happy Knitting!
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