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The Dye-ing Experiment

After my last post on thread on dyeing the cotton yarn, I had a couple of people ask me to note down the entire process. So i took that as an excuse to finally dye the last hank of yarn I had. This also meant that it would have to be green because that’s the only dye I have left… any more would mean a trip to Commercial Street, and I really don’t have time for shopping now.

So here goes:

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 ltr vessel that you wont ever use for food again
  • a pair of tongs or a spoon for turning the yarn
  • 10gms of acidic powder dye
  • 1 hank of cotton yarn
  • 2tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vinegar

Step 1:

  • Ensure the cotton yarn is tied neatly into a hank. This is necessary to ensure that you can manage the yarn while dyeing.
  • Though you are tying it in 2-3 places, ensure it is not too tight. The dye will not reach the inside yarn otherwise

Step 2:

  • Heat about 3 lts of water to lukewarm and add the vinegar. Add the undyed yarn to the water and set aside until cool.
  • Keep turning the yarn intermittently to ensure that the entire yarn is washed well in the vinegar. Drain and set the yarn aside
  • The purpose is to wash off all impurities in the yarn and also traces of other dyes. This especially helps when you’ve tried with food coloring, and it didn’t work. I did this, so I know!
When I put the yarn into the vinegar-water
2 mintues later (check the color of the water in the background)

Step 3:

  • Drain the vinegar water, and replace with clean water.
  • Bring the water to boil, and then add salt and dye and mix well to ensure no lumps remain. Here I added a 1/2 tsp of turmeric just to see if it affected the final green. The last time I’d used the same dye, I got a forest green, So I wanted something different.
  • Let the water boil for a few minutes more and then add the cotton yarn.
  • Turn off the flame immediately. This I learnt with trial-and-error. The dye shop guy told me to boil the yarn with the dye. When I did this, the yarn kinda crinkled up. Not sure why, but when I don’t boil it, the yarn remained smooth. Boiling didn’t affect the softness of the yarn, but just gave an odd look to the yarn.
  • Keep turning the yarn in the dye every 2 minutes to ensure it reaches all parts of the yarn
  • Once the dye has cooled off, and while turning, you feel that the yarn has caught the color properly throughout the yarn, take it out
When I put the yarn in the dye
When the color is catching on the dye

Step 4:

  • Drain the dye and wash the yarn thoroughly until it stops bleeding color.
  • Add a bit of detergent to water, and wash again till it stops bleeding color.
  • You may also soak the yarn in fabric softener to help it maintain softness (I do this)

Step 5:

  • Dry it out ๐Ÿ™‚
My Dye Results

Here is a pic of all my experiments side-by-side. Note the difference in the green yarns. Apparently turmeric does change the color, But I need to wait and watch if this effect is permanent. Turmeric isn’t really known for permanent cotton dyeing properties. In fact I always manage to get it off my cotton clothes when I have a cooking accident…

Also note the slightly less crinkly nature of the center yarn. Thats the lastest one that I’ve written about.

Most of what I did was a mix of what I learnt through various websites on dyeing, and a bit of experimentation on my part. Had some hit, and some misses… but that’s what learning is all about!

1 thought on “The Dye-ing Experiment

  1. […] 2: I had a spare steel vessel I had used last time for dyeing. In this I added Leaf Green, Lemon Yellow and a dash of Burnt Sienna, all being in 15 ml bottles. I […]

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