Monday, 25 July 2011

Dying Lace

Last week I gave in to the temptation and bought the lovely sparkling lace yarn from Bluefaced that Wool Bath is stocking at the moment. It was the sparkles that did it. Ever since I saw Fyberspates' Royal Wedding Lace I have been keen to find something just as sparkly and this is it:

I was disappointed that it does not come in colours, but this was my chance to try and see if I can dye. That was a slightly scary thought, to be honest, because you don't really want to spend a lot of cash on lovely yarn only to ruin it in the end. Since I know very little about dying, I tried to make it simple and chose Dylon hand dyes in intense purple, powder pink and flamingo pink.

I can't even begin to tell you how long it took me to decide on the powder pink. The other two colours were easy. I followed the instructions on the packets and tried to keep the work area (kitchen counter top) clear and clean. Need I say that I didn't quite manage the keeping it clean bit? Even Cilit Bang has not been able to get rid of the pink ring that is still on the white surface now.

The first thing I did was tie each of the two lace skeins in three places to avoid tangling. Then I soaked them in cold water, but I didn't add vinegar like many people suggest to ensure the colours don't fade. Since I do not intend to wash the yarn much (it will be a big shawl one day), I decided not to bother with it. Also, the packet instructions said nothing about it and since it is a chemical dye, I assume everything I need is already in it.

I prepared the dyes in three glass bowls/jugs/baking dishes/whatever I could find and simply hoped there would be enough space for all the yarn. It worked out fine and I distributed the lace as evenly as I could in each bowl. Sometimes I had to move the white sections into the dyes to ensure they would take on colour as well since they didn't entirely soak up the dye on their own.

The powder pink is exactly the shade I had expected. I could tell the colour might end up being semi-solid because the dish was shallow and there was only just enough space for the yarn. Towards the end when I realised that there was no dye left and not all the yarn had taken on colour, I added a bit of flamingo pink to it.

I do love this colour! It is lovely and rich and I enjoyed even just looking at it while I waited. If you look closely, you will see the sparkly bits that come out even more on a sunny day such as this.

Please forgive this picture of the intense purple with my camera and hands visible right in the middle. Now I wish I had taken another picture to show you the depth of colour. This dye, unlike the powder pink, was still left in the jug after I took out the yarn. I wish I had something more to dye just to use it up.

I left the yarn to dye for a bit over one and a half hours though the packet instructions said an hour, but I wanted to have as intense colours as possible. After several washes till the water was pretty much clear, I could see how my experiment had turned out. Not bad. I do wish now, though, that I had chosen a shade of blue rather than powder pink, but you never know how it will look when knitted up.

And right now the yarn is hanging on the door, waiting to dry. Luckily it is a sunny and warm day so I hope it won't take too long. I have a pattern ready and waiting for this yarn even if I first need to finish at least two other projects before I even start it. For now I can't wait to see what the yarn will be like when dry and wound properly. Very exciting and even a bit satisfying.


  1. Wonderful! Such lovely intense colours. I wonder, did you heat the dye baths or was it all cold? I've been thinking of dyeing with dylon for a while now :)

  2. Hi Kim! Thanks for your comment. Using Dylon was really easy. :) I don't remember now what it said in the instructions, but I definitely kept to them when preparing the dye baths. I suspect I used very warm water (not too hot) to dissolve the salt I had to add. I hope you get good results when you try it!