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 Clara's Article--Dyeing Your Own Yarn
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frenetic@charter.net
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1386 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  03:49:00 AM  Show Profile Send frenetic@charter.net a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I read Clara's article about how to dye your own yarn with fascination. I am wondering where one can purchase dyes other than Louet and the yarn also. Can someone recommend sources? I can see another dimension to knitting for some of us now <VBG>. Thanks Clara!
Sharon

knittingbuzz
Permanent Resident

USA
1122 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  04:09:41 AM  Show Profile  Visit knittingbuzz's Homepage Send knittingbuzz a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I havn't tried dyeing myself but I have seen both yarn and dye at knitpicks.com
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frenetic@charter.net
Permanent Resident

1386 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  04:11:17 AM  Show Profile Send frenetic@charter.net a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I found this article on dyeing with Kool-Aid. It is nontoxic:

http://www.knitty.com/issuefall02/FEATdyedwool.html

Sharon
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Chemcats
Permanent Resident

3337 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  04:18:06 AM  Show Profile Send Chemcats a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Kool-Aid dyeing is a hoot! I had a "class" in it and had a blast! It's like finger painting, heehee. And now I have orange and yellow yarn that I am saving for Cabin Fever knitting this winter.

Meribeth
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hissyknit
Permanent Resident

USA
1349 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  04:18:26 AM  Show Profile  Visit hissyknit's Homepage Send hissyknit a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wilton icing dye is also non toxic and I've had pretty good results with it. Very bright colors. I'm told though, it's a stain rather than a dye so it might fade.

Christy B.
"Sticks and stones may break my bones but sticks and strings excite me."

http://hissyknit.blogspot.com/
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marjotse
Permanent Resident

Sweden
1018 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  04:23:48 AM  Show Profile  Visit marjotse's Homepage Send marjotse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
www.texere.co.uk is a good source for yarns to dye but they have also some dye kits . At www.getknitted.com you can get undyed trekking sock yarn and I think you can also get Opal sock-yarn for dyeing (can't remember where I have seen it). I only did some kool-aid dyeing with my chidren and it was great fun and would like to do it again if I found the time...

Marjolein
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Becky in MO
Seriously Hooked

769 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  05:06:09 AM  Show Profile  Send Becky in MO a Yahoo! Message Send Becky in MO a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Where is the article on dying your own yarn?
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Clara
queen bee

USA
4404 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  05:09:21 AM  Show Profile  Visit Clara's Homepage Send Clara a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Becky - if you click on "The Magazine" at the top of the forum page you'll see the rest of KR, including a link to this week's article.

I'm moving this post to the dyeing section - let's keep the discussion rolling!

Clara
Your friendly Knitter's Review publisher
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Cheerleader9
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USA
1563 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  06:23:49 AM  Show Profile Send Cheerleader9 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I now have a greater respect for those who hand dye yarns! Also appreciate the cost of hand dye yarns now. This is not on my list of things to try:-)

Barb in AZ
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LJ
Permanent Resident

USA
1939 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  06:27:48 AM  Show Profile  Visit LJ's Homepage Send LJ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Visions of the cabin at Graves Mtn wrapped in plastic went through my mind when I opened Clara's article. I do need to knit something with my hand dyed....

Such a timely article Clara, we (Ewe Knit Kits) just received a small shipment of Trekking XXL undyed all ready for dyeing. Hmmmm....

Linda in Va


http://wallisknits.blogspot.com
http://www.eweknitkits.com
http://tkgv.blogspot.com
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Clara
queen bee

USA
4404 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  07:25:43 AM  Show Profile  Visit Clara's Homepage Send Clara a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh YUM! Linda, I had no idea they sold Trekking XXL undyed. I'll be there in a few hours!

Clara
Your friendly Knitter's Review publisher
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Bethany
Permanent Resident

USA
1546 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  07:51:02 AM  Show Profile Send Bethany a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If you're in the US or Canada, Knitpicks has both a small selection of Jacquard acid dyes (just add vinegar) as well as the yarn to dye (I've been using the Bare 75% superwash Merino 25% nylon sock yarn). Dharma Trading has a bigger selection of Jacquard dyes as well as some Henry's Attic yarn (though I don't know if they have sock yarn). I've never ordered from them but they're one of the big purveyers of dye on the web.

I've been ordering dyes from Earth Guild (www.earthguild.com). They don't have a shopping cart system, which makes ordering a pain, but they ship quickly and they charge the actual cost for shipping, which means if you're just ordering one packet of dye or something you don't feel dinged on the shipping. They sell Cushings and Lanaset acid dyes, as well as pretty much any chemical or accessory you might want to use: beakers, syringes, squirt bottles, you name it.

Another place to buy some brands of dye (including Lanaset, WashFast, and One Shot)is directly from the manufacturer, Pro Chemical and Dye (www.prochemical.com). They also sell great color cards of their dyes, which contain actual dyed samples of yarn, not just photos or scans. You can also buy a huge assortment of auxilary chemicals, equipment, and books from them.

Pro Chemical sells starter kits of their Washfast acid dyes that come in a variety of color assortments, include auxilary chemicals, and are MUCH cheaper than the kit Clara reviewed (although they don't include the yarn -- but they do include larger quantities of dye). Hidden in the "Books" section are dye assortments to go with the books Dying to Knit and Color in Spinning, which use their products (I have the latter set -- I bought the book from Amazon and the kit from Pro Chemical). Even if you don't have the books, this is a way to get an assortment of colors to play in small quantities for a reasonable price. My experience ordering from them was good, with quick shipping.

Pro Chemicals One Shot dyes are all-in-one, no-added-chemicals dyes like the ones in Clara's review, although the only chemical you really *need* to add even to the normal dyes are white vinegar, which isn't hard. (If the dye isn't striking, add more. If they dye struck too fast, you added too much, but that's one way to get semi-solid yarn...)

A few more notes: remember, you can also dye semisolids with only one color of dye: either by hand-painting it with different concentrations of the dye, or by immersion dyeing with too much acid and/or too little water. (Ask me how often I've done this when I didn't mean to...) Also, you don't necessarily need a second microwave to steam the handpainted yarn: you can also steam the yarn packet on the stove in a large pot (with either a real steamer rack or one improvised out of mason jars, etc.) Buying a big dying-only stainless steel stock pot is probably cheaper than buying a dying-only microwave -- I think I got mine at K-mart for $20 -- and you can also use the pot for immersion dying. :-)

Despite how much I've been talking, I'm really just a beginning dyer, so take this advice as coming from one beginner to another. :-)

BTW, Clara, I really love your yarn. $50 for a kit is WAY too rich for my blood, but I'm tempted to try dying a blue/silver handpaint (or maybe self-striping) with the dyes I have. :-)
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MelodyMck
New Pal

USA
25 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  08:45:07 AM  Show Profile  Visit MelodyMck's Homepage Send MelodyMck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Someone already mentioned it, but I want to emphasize that Dharma Trading Company is a super source for all types of dyes and supplies, they even carry some yarn now. Tons of helpful instructions for all sorts of methods, super fast shipping. No, I don't work for them, but have used them for years (like about 20+, all the way back to when I was selling tie dye baby t-shirts at art fairs!).

Another fun thing to try, look up crock pot dyeing on the web - you will get a semisolid with this method even if you only use one color. Fun to do, and you can usually find a crockpot at the thrift stores for about $5 so you aren't using your kitchen equipment.

Melody

www.Freshwaterfibers.com
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frenetic@charter.net
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1386 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  09:27:25 AM  Show Profile Send frenetic@charter.net a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This is all very confusing for a newbie. Are there some good books on the subject, or can I get all the information I need on the internet?
Sharon
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JLWinPA
New Pal

USA
6 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  09:50:38 AM  Show Profile Send JLWinPA a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have had good luck dying yarn with Kool-Aid. Whether or not it's actually non-toxic is a question for a chemist, but it is sold as food so I figure it's not quite as scary as acid dyes.

I got a semi-solid look by making a "yarn casserole" - see http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlw_in_pa/1018397412/in/set-72157601232386832/ for the finished sock made with this yarn, and http://knittingsitting.blogspot.com/2006/12/dont-drink-kool-aid.html for my friend's blog post about the fun we had dying our yarn.
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srex@shockware.com
New Pal

1 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  10:05:48 AM  Show Profile Send srex@shockware.com a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I was sorry to hear that Trudy did not include dye safety in her Louet dye kits. Kudos to Clara for covering that issue. I would like to add, please use a dust mask. Although Gaywool Dyes are granular, there is dye powder involved and that is dangerous to inhale. Also, placing wet papertowels or newsprint under you mixing containers will help catch any drifting dye particles.

Microwave dyeing: Unless you microwave is old or very weak, do not heat on high, rather 50 - 60% power. Heat for short periods of time until the package is too hot to handle. Let it sit until it starts to cool and then process for another short period of time. What you are trying to do is keep the fiber hot for 45 - 60 minutes. It must then cool completely to allow the dye process to finish properly. Do not rinse in hot water as this can draw the dye from the fiber, tepid water will work just as well.

Try using koolaid or food coloring to start. If dyeing is something you want to pursue, then invest in more economical, more lightfast and washfast dyes. There are several brand names on the market although most of them are similar in characteristics. Most spinning/weaving shops carry some type of dyes, and there are many shops spread throughout Canada and the US. Major dye suppliers in the US: PRO Chemical and Dye or Dharma Trading. In Canada: G&S Dyes or Maiwa Handprints.

Su - author: Dyeing Wool & Other Protein Fibers: An Introduction to Weak Acid Dyes
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frenetic@charter.net
Permanent Resident

1386 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  10:06:45 AM  Show Profile Send frenetic@charter.net a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I was under the impression that Kool-Aid is a stain and not a dye, so over time, it fades until the color disappears. Is this true?
Sharon
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Bethany
Permanent Resident

USA
1546 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  10:37:21 AM  Show Profile Send Bethany a Private Message  Reply with Quote
No, both Kool-aid and food coloring are acid dyes, the same chemical type of dye as Jacquard and Lanaset and suchlike. They're just an especially non-toxic kind of acid dye that is therefore approved for use in food. They're (apparently) not as light-fast and wash-fast as acid dyes intended for textiles rather than sugary beverages, but they're a true dye and not a stain.

I'm not an expert, but I'm honestly not sure that standard textile acid dyes are as scary as people make them out to be. I once blithely ignored the "do not pipette by mouth" warning when working with some turquoise dye, figuring, "I can keep it from getting in my mouth." After getting it in my mouth, I looked up the MSDS and it's really not that alarming. I mean, you don't want to DRINK the stuff (presumably why it's not used in Kool Aid) but it's not like working with rat poison or anything like that. The advice on the MSDS in the event of ingestion basically says, "No harmful effects are expected, drink a glass of water and call the doctor if it makes you sick to your stomach."

Remember, "not food-safe" doesn't mean "poison." I think standard acid dyes sold to crafters are actually pretty much non-toxic, as least as long as you don't start snarfing down jars of the dye powder -- they're just not approved for use in food. I suspect that the problem for use in food is actually that they're mild carcinogens rather than that they're toxic per se.

I use a mask and gloves and don't use food pots for dying, but honestly I think many crafters work with a LOT worse stuff all the time (most notably adhesives) without a second thought.

(Even if getting turquoise dye in your mouth won't kill you, it tastes HORRIBLE and makes your tounge look like you just ate your weight in turquoise cotton candy, so I don't advise it.)

Remember even with Kool Aid you don't want to inhale the powder -- wear a mask.

Note that I'm not a chemist, nor do I play one on TV -- but those MSDS look pretty benign to me (not that much different than the ones for the dyes used in Kool Aid, actually.)
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frenetic@charter.net
Permanent Resident

1386 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  1:17:00 PM  Show Profile Send frenetic@charter.net a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You can purchase the Louet dyes separately!

http://www.louet.com/specialty/gaywool_dyes.shtml

Sharon
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LJ
Permanent Resident

USA
1939 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  2:32:26 PM  Show Profile  Visit LJ's Homepage Send LJ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Clara....we do mail yarns!


Linda in Va

http://wallisknits.blogspot.com
http://www.eweknitkits.com
http://tkgv.blogspot.com
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stjamesb
Chatty Knitter

USA
160 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  2:49:25 PM  Show Profile Send stjamesb a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks to Clara for a timely article. I've been thinking about dying yarn for the past week and lo and behold what did I find in the mail box this morning? Thanks.
I've done Kool aid cying and ready to move beyond that. Although as one of the posters stated that the other non-food dyes are not as toxic as one might believe, having kids in the house, I really don't want to take any chance. My question is beyond Kool aid and Wilton food dyes, what are other dyes that not so toxic? I've read about different dyes but no where I can find pros and cons of different dyes. Can someone shed some lights on this?

Thanks
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