Oven dyeing Sunday

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I have been trying to get to some yarn dyeing.  And I have been afraid that if I didn’t get it done before lambing and kidding that it wouldn’t happen.  (And it wouldn’t).  Our son and grandson were out for the day, so I cleared the decks and got to work.  I have been reading instructions for oven dyeing on the internet, most recently on Woolly Wormhead’s blog.  I dye my yarn on the propane lobster cooker out in the driveway, but I wanted to learn how to do this so that I could be a little more productive in the winter.  (The lobster cooker has been lost beneath the snow for quite awhile… it has re-appeared, but I really wanted to give this a try). I usually wrap my skeins in heavy-duty clear plastic wrap and steam them in “packages,” so I was not quite sure that Woolly’s instructions were for me.  I called Hatchtown Pam, and she gave me excellent instructions, so I got to work with my usual plastic wrap, but instead of just putting the yarn in the pan, I put a rack in the bottom so there would be water to help with the steaming process.

I love space-dyeing yarn.  Usually the yarn that I dye is silver or even a darker grey-brown and the colors are fairly subtle.  This time I am dyeing white handspun skeins which are destined for a very particular project.  A good friend of mine has been wanting some dyed yarn in “wild, bright colors” (direct quote).  She was then going to have someone else knit a hat for her out of the yarn.  I decided that I really wanted to do the whole project, so I have been working away on the yarn, spinning it into a worsted singles and then two-plying it.  It doesn’t have as much twist as I would want, but it’s lovely yarn.  Our girls Lupine and Fuzzy Lumpkin donated the wool last year and I have been spinning it off and on for awhile.  The two girls are best buddies, so I thought it would be fun to use their yarn for my friend.  Corny, but fun.  Fuzzy and Lupine are crossbred Border Leicester/Coopworths and they have spectacular long, lustrous locks.  Lots of fun to spin.  Beautiful  yarn!

The two batches of yarn are wearing two different color series.  The first two skeins were dyed with 5 colors, the second two skeins were dyed with two, with a very tiny touch of a third color.  Each batch stayed in a 350F oven for 20 minutes.  When I took the first two packages out, I kept them in the plastic wrap and just put them into the sink to cool as slowly as possible.  The second two came out and I just left them in the pan until they were almost cold to the touch.  I rinsed them with some warm water and a little bit of Dawn detergent, and then rinsed them until the water was clear, as I always do.  Then I put them in one last pan of water with some white vinegar for the final rinse.  They are drying now.  When I re-skein them I will decide which colorway to use for the gift :*)  I am looking forward to knitting with these colors!

(Fuzzy Lumpkin and Lupine are in the last picture.  They are definitely BFFs!)


3 thoughts on “Oven dyeing Sunday”

  1. Oh my goodness! They are splendid looking! I really like the red-orange-yellow colorway, so bright and cheery after a long winter.

    I’ve done a fair amount of pot-dying before, but never even knew you could color and steam the yarn to set the color. Way cool, and definitely something I want to try. It seems much cleaner than having a huge pot going on the stove. What brand of dyes do you use?

    Shearing looks so cool! Keep up with the great pictures, I love seeing your flock!

  2. Thanks, Theresa! The red and yellow with its gradients of oranges are my favorite as well. I use the Cushing dyes that are made right here in Maine (Kennebunk, I think). They seem to give a rich color even on white, so they must be more complex colors than some other dyes I have used. I love them. Next year you should have a weekend trip and join us for shearing. We always have a great time!

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