Saturday, September 8, 2012

Dreams Evoked

  I recently had the privilege to dye up a special colorway for a co-op group (Thanks Kim!).   They gave me this picture for the inspiration.  Isn't it gorgeous?!

I knew I wanted to do something more organic feeling than a hand-paint so I chose to use a low immersion kettle dye technique.  This takes quite a bit longer than a regular hand-paint, but the lovely ladies gave me time to create.  (Thanks for your patience co-op'ers!)

The first step I took was to bring out my big stainless steel brazier pot.  You can use bus pans, or regular dye pots too.  I like this pot because it has a lot of surface area and it's shallow so it doesn't get too heavy.  I added some water (room temp, about 3" of water) and 1 Tb citric acid.  I'll be dyeing 8 oz.  :)

Next add some fiber!  This is 8oz of superwash merino.  I made a vertical pattern here and made sure to scrunch it up!

Then I mixed up some of the undertones I spied from the inspiration pic.  This step takes practice!  I used acid dyes, the cool primaries, in a stock solution to get the colors I wanted.   If you're a beginning dyer I highly recommend buying cool and warm primaries only.  Not only will you save money but you'll learn valuable knowledge on how colors mix and mingle.  The colors here are just the first "glaze" of the colorway.  I mixed up a lime green, teal, sky, periwinkle, and mauve.  Notice the new bright shiny Sham-wow!...I brought that out just for you.  (all of my other ones are mud-colored due to the countless amounts of dye they have splashed on them.)

  Next, I poured these colors over the fiber, no heating has been involved yet!  I want these to travel and not set right away.  I made sure to put specific colors next to each other to avoid muddy colors.
  Then, put on the lid, and crank up the heat to low/med, you're going to want to do this slowly.  20 to 30 minutes is a good time to let this part stew.  It should be a little steamy for the next step!

  Next, I mix up some of the more vibrant, saturated colors.  I chose dark green, teal, deep turquoise, and violet.  (sham-wow not looking so nice now).

  I added these darker colors in between my base colors.  Sorry for the terrible pic, it's hard to dye and take pics at the same time!  I just pour it on, no poking or pushing fiber around. :)  The dyes will make up their own mind on how they want to mix, it's best to let them play.   And it's always important to think about the colors you're pouring next to,  you don't want icky colors popping up.

The pot now looks like this! Ooooo, I'm going to like this one!

Put the lid back on and steam a bit longer so those darker dyes will set, like 15 minutes (or more if needed).

After the 15 minutes make sure your water is clear.  If it is, it's done! 

Let it cool for a few hours.  When it's cool enough to handle, I grab a piece of nylon netting from a bolt to keep it all together.

Scoop it up!   Only a tiny bit of dye to tint the water a pale aqua, it's ok.  Turquoise is impossible to exhaust!   Rinse and dry.

The result!

Dreams Evoked!  I hope you all loved yours. :D  It came out differently on each type of fiber, some had more of the pale undertones showing, some were darker;  that's the beauty of hand-dyed!  



  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE the post!! Thank you so much for sharing a piece of you!!

  2. I love my Dreams Evoked braids, and it was awesome to see the process!

  3. Hi I have just been reading your Dye Tutorial
    I have found it very helpful as I am new to dying, I am trying to make a good old gold and a nice bright lime green and not doing to well so far can you help me with prime colour combinations please I have Red Blue and yellow in Kemtex acid dyes and Black in Ashford made up into litre bottles with vinegar added to the solution. Help would be great. Can you email me please, I am also on Ravely Love your blog here
    Susan x

  4. I just found your blog and I'm thrilled with all the great info! I was wondering if you have more details on how you use that netting in the post? Do you somehow scoop it up, or do you dump it out over the netting?