I had the pleasure of teaching a class on how to dye Self Striped Yarn over the weekend. The class was held at the “Fuzzy Goat” yarn shop in Thomasville GA.
I spent the week before preparing for the day by winding 8 skeins of Merino/Nylon yarn into center pull balls. This would make it much easier to re-skein into the long lengths we would need for dying.
I also gathered up my dyes, gloves, cups, and paint samples, placing them in a box for easy transport. I purchased a fresh gallon of vinegar (mine was nearly empty) and printed out my class information sheets. I also pre-cut a bunch of acrylic yarn in 2 different colors to use as ties.
The morning of class I loaded my car with all of the above plus the microwave I use for dye projects and several folding tables.
We had 7 students. One had even traveled all the way from Jacksonville Florida! One of the students had requested an extra skein of yarn so we would be dyeing all 8 skeins.
We began by discussing how to decide the length of each color repeat. There is no real scientific formula for this, as it is determined by yarn and needle size and the width of the finished kitted object. The best way to figure out how long to make the color sections is to knit a sample row, pull it out and measure the yarn.
I left half of the group inside to play around with the paint samples and choose their colors. The other half come outside with me to wind the yarn.
Place 2 chairs or something similar as half as far apart as the number arrived at when you added up the color sections. Now wind the yarn around these, being careful not to tangle the yarn. We had one student that had this problem! We managed to get it untangled and all was good in the end though!
Secure the yarn by tying figure 8 ties every few feet, using one color of the acrylic yarn (pink in our case). Use the other color to mark the separation of color (these were green).
Next we headed inside to soak the yarn in tap water. This ensures and even take up of color.
While that was soaking, they mixed the colors into cups with water and 2 Tbs Vinegar, which is necessary to set the dye.
Each section marked off by the green yarn was put into a cup of dye.
Then a quick trip to the microwave to bring the cups to a near simmering point.
Take it out and allow it to cool, rinse and viola! We hung them out back to dry a bit before placing them into plastic baggies for transport home where they would dry completely before winding into a manageable skein or ball of beautiful self striping yarn!
I had a lot of fun teaching this class. I think my students had a good time too. And I just love all the colorful yarn they made. I can’t wait to see some finished projects!
Some of the images shown here today were taken by members of the class – Thank you! I was too busy to take pictures!