Dye What You Can When You Can-Dyelot, Fiber Choice, and Acidity


You know how store-bought yarn comes with a warning to make sure to purchase enough yarn at any given time to finish a project because of dye lot variations?

This holds even more true for hand dyeing, especially when you work with a method like solar or kettle dyeing.

It is exceptionally hard to maintain the same color across batches, especially if you have to vary fiber choice later on down the line. That can have a lot of fun; different protein fibers take up color in different ways-and even differing types of the same fiber such as different wool breeds will impact your color way. This can be a lot of fun and is actually part of the appeal of hand dyeing for me.

One of the greatest impacts on the dyeing process is the amount (and even type) of acid used. A ‘good’ dyer will make sure that every batch has the same amount of acid, of the same type, across the board. I’m a child of chaos so when I dye I rarely do that, though I do mark what I did in my dyeing notebook in case I have to try to mimic what I did before for a sale, trade, or supplement a custom job I gave as a gift.

When using a dyeing technique known for volatile results like solar dyeing or kettle dyeing, both of which being techniques that like to break colors, keep in mind you’re not going to get it to mimic perfectly every time. You can probably get the colors to break again but not in the same places to the same extent.

The bottom line: make sure you dye large enough amounts to fulfill your intended projects, or make sure you’re okay with two radically different lots in case it happens.

Both blues pictured are both Dubh batches; they differ slightly in acid strength and wool choice. The latter came out much darker and richer than the first, which came out a much brighter, stronger neon color, though the darker breaks are the shades in the second skein.

Bloggers-I have started a new group board on Pinterest. Open to all DIY, craft, food, or other creative blogs, I would love to have you join. Joining instructions are posted on the board-join here.

Please, stop by this week’s Inspired Weekends!

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