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Mix the Dye and Soak the Yarn Skeins

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In this process, you prepare to paint the dye directly onto the yarn with foam brushes to create variegated skeins. Using wool skeins with a 2-yard circumference, this technique shows how to paint skeins with distinct 6-inch color bands that form an 18-inch color pattern repeat. The color pattern repeats four times around the circumference of the skein. Using dye thickener helps maintain distinct colors.

1

Gather your materials

4 four-ounce skeins (454g) of wool yarn, prepared for dyeing

1 envelope each color Cushing Perfection Dyes: Plum, Mulberry, Rust

Citric acid crystals

Superclear dye thickener

Synthrapol

Pyrex measuring cup

Measuring spoons

4 small plastic cups or containers for holding dye

Permanent felt-tip marker and ruler for marking length of color bands

Plastic wrap

4 two-inch-wide foam brushes

Sponges and paper towels

Enamel canning pot with rack and lid

Pie plate to cover rack

Small plastic bowl

2

Mix each envelope of dye powder with 4 cups (1,000ml) boiling water

Mix the dye solutions in advance and allow them to reach room temperature before use.

3

Wet the skeins in an acid presoak.

Soak the skeins for a minimum of 30 minutes.

4

Spread two sheets of plastic wrap side by side, overlapping the plastic by 2 inches.

The sheets should extend roughly 6 inches longer than the length of the skein.

5

Pour each dye solution into its own cup and place the cups in the order of your planned color sequence.

You will use a separate foam brush for each color. Place the brushes beside each container.

6

Add 4 tablespoons (60ml) Superclear thickener to each dye solution and stir.

Keep your table clean as you work, wiping up any spills immediately. Place a damp sponge beside each cup to catch drips of dye.

7

Using a ruler and a felt-tip permanent marker, make indicator marks on the plastic wrap, about 6 inches apart.

These marks will guide your color application.

8

Lift the wet skeins from the soak and gently press out the water. Place them in the spin cycle of a top-loading washing machine for 1 minute, without adding water.

Excess water in the skeins can dilute the dye solution, so it’s best to have the skeins damp but not wet.

9

Place one skein on the sheet of plastic wrap, spreading out the skein to form an oval.

The two halves of the skein should not touch.


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