Sunday, February 1, 2009

Dyeing with Procion MX

I just couldn’t get my head into weaving for a couple of days, so Ngaire and I decided to have some fun and paint some yarns of dubious colour that have been hanging around for yonks!

I had purchased this cotton slubby yarn at a guild swap/sale, peach is a really good colour with my skin tone, and I’ll use it up no problem. Yeah, right! Now it’s one of those bulky items that clutter my stash.
I use paint chips gleaned from my favourite paint store to check out colour ways.
It seems like peach and khaki would work nicely for a cool knitted summer sweater, so that’s my plan.

I purchased a beginner Procion MX Dye kit last summer – all the basics except the salt and the gloves came from Maiwa in Vancouver BC for under $30.00.
I wound the yarn onto my trusty Japanese plastic skein holder. I do have a fancy wooden LeClerc skein holder, very pretty to look at but I find it a bit heavy to work with, so this is my 'go to guy'.
The skeins are made, it’s time to soak for 30 minutes in the Soda Ash bath.
After wringing the yarn out very well, it’s time to paint, no real plan here, just trying to make all 5 skeins pretty much the same. I protected my surfaces with heavy duty plastic and placed each skein on plastic food wrap.

Mixing the dye was a breeze, just a teaspoon of dye, a teaspoon of urea, a tablespoon of salt and enough water to mix, about 1/2 cup.
After dabbing the dye on with a sponge brush we're all done and have it wrapped up for 24 hours, then rinse and dry on a rack.
Not sure what happened here, I followed the formula to make khaki and it did include some turquoise. Now that everything is dry it looks like the turquoise migrated out of the khaki…..not too sure about this, looks weird to me!
Can't belieive I’ve made CAMMO!!!……but now that I’ve knit a swatch, I like it. Just goes to show that for a slap dash dye gal like me, everything is unpredictable!
Found some fine cotton that was Ecru and bought at a yard sale….yukky then and pretty now!
We were on a roll. I raided my stash for a couple of other geriatric items. A white cotton flake would look good in scarlet, blue and purple. Ngaire painted these ones.
They turned out very well and what was expected, except (isn’t there always an exception!) the core yarn must have been synthetic and not noted on the cone. It’s come out very lightly dyed.
Michael would be home soon, so playtime's almost over. We tossed all the blue, red, and fuchsia dye into a big container, added enough water to cover the yarn and immersed some rather poopy looking brown cotton. Anything would be better than that colour, I like it now!


Deanna said...

Oooh, what fun. The color of the skeins in he last photo is just luscious, and I love the knitted effect of the camo yarn. That would be hard to produce if you were trying for it. :-) Neat effect!

Susan said...

What a fun day! Neat colourful results too. I think the skeins that were brown and then rich burgundy ( it looks burgundy on my screen!)was the best demonstration of turning unattractive yarns into a winner.

I have some 2/6 wool that is a hideous acid magenta and needs an overdye bath before I'll use it. The price was simply to good to pass it up, but man is it ever ugly!


Brenda said...

This is an interesting coincidence. Our daughter Rebecca is down for a visit and we walked to the Falkland store for goodies. They have a fabulous selection of knitting supplies and yarn - some handpainted silk caught her eye and she asked me how that was done. I've handpainted but it was after she left home. Long story short, browsed your blog and was able to show her how it's done! She liked your poopy brown comment; I like the results you had with the ecru cotton. Silk takes procion dyes wonderfully well.

Leigh said...

Great post! I love the results, as well as the idea of sprucing up plain color skeins.

Life Looms Large said...

Cool ideas!! I have a lot of white and natural yarn that I've been meaning to dye. Maybe seeing these great examples on other blogs will inspire me!!

Plus, the main color rehab I've done is to try to learn to like a hideous color....but now I'm thinking...why like it when you can change it?!

Good job!!!

bspinner said...

What a great day. Loads of fun with a friend. Can't get any better than that. I like the knitted camo sample.

Gwen said...

How cool! A fun day AND some beautiful "new" yarns to work with... The camo is neat, and I love the last purple batch. :)