Last week I posted a mini-photo essay about dye day. While I participated–helping Spencer and generally being around for a couple of hours, I did not do much dyeing. This was not for lack of trying! I showed up with my 1.5lbs of wool yarn ready to go! I soaked it in the acid bath for 30 minutes; I had colors in mind . . . but as it turned out, the natural brown shetland yarn that I wanted to overdye was better served by a kettle dyeing process. And that meant that I was sent home with some very wet wool and some dye. It was the best thing that could have happened.
I have been wanting to try kettle dyeing for a long, long time. I even have acid dyes and a pot and all of the necessary gear. But the whole process seemed so, well, complicated and dangerous. I was wrong. Yes, it’s important to use safety gear: I wore a mask and an apron; I worked with special pots and bowls and gear that was never to be used for food preparation again; and I did the whole process–except for the post-dye rinsing–outside. But the process itself was easy enough. I think that’s largely because I have talked to (and interviewed) a lot of indie dyers, watched the process ad nauseum on YouTube, and had the express urging of my dear guild mates who have already encouraged me to stretch my limits.
So, home I went for some mixing, heating, and a lot of waiting to see the results–which turned out better than my wildest dreams 🙂
Here is the before and after (1.5lbs of locally sourced, mill-spun, brown Shetland)