How to Dye Yarn Skeins a Solid Color
Now that you have your skeins prepared and soaked and dye bath prepared for dyeing your fiber a solid color. Always be sure you have the proper safety equipment and follow manufacturer instructions when dyeing.
1Remove the skeins from the presoak and gently squeeze the excess water from the yarn.
You can use your washing machine to spin out the excess water, which can slow the uptake of dye.
2Add the skeins to the dye bath. Lift and submerge the skeins several times to saturate them evenly. Give the bath a stir each time you lift the skeins.
Make sure the dye is able to penetrate beneath the figure-8 ties.
Be sure you are wearing insulated rubber gloves.
3Place the pot on your cooking surface with the heat set to medium-high.
Be sure to ventilate the dyeing area and take care when stirring the dye bath and handling the hot fiber. Wear your respirator mask, safety glasses, and insulated gloves when working near the dye pot.
4Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature continually.
The temperature of the dye bath will rise gradually at first. Keep in mind that the water at the bottom of the pot will heat more quickly than the water at the top of the pot.
Lift the skeins and stir continuously. This is essential for an even dye strike. Do not allow the skeins to sit at the bottom of the pot. This may create dark spots of color on the yarn.
5Continue to monitor the temperature, lifting the skeins and stirring the dye bath periodically.
The temperature of the dye bath will climb more quickly once it reaches 140°F (60°C). 160°F (71°C) is the magic threshold where you will see that most of the dye has fixed on the fiber and very little is left in the water. You should notice the yarn deepening in color as the dye bonds with the fiber. As this happens, the dye bath becomes more clear.
For dyeing wool, WashFast dyes need to simmer just beneath a low boil [212°F (100°C)] for at least 45 minutes. This is necessary to achieve a light-fast and washfast bond.
If there is quite a bit of color remaining in the pot after 60 minutes, lift the skeins from the bath, add 6 tablespoons of white vinegar, and stir. Replace the skeins and simmer for an additional 10 minutes to exhaust the dye bath.
6Turn off the heat and allow the pot to sit until the water reaches room temperature.
The water in the dye pot should be clear, indicating that the dye bath is exhausted. A dye bath has exhausted when all the dye molecules have bonded with the fiber and the water is clear.
If, at the end of the cooking time, there is still dye left in the bath, allow the dye bath to cool completely. Often any residual dye will still bond with the fiber. When the dye bath has exhausted, the water will be completely clear.
7Fill a sink or washbasin with warm water and 1/2 teaspoon Synthrapol. Submerge the skeins in the soak.
This after-bath will remove any excess dye that has not bonded with the yarn.