My fun project this past week was turning a white skein of Briggs & Little ‘Regal’ yarn into a veritable kaleidoscope of colours. It was a lot easier and much less messy than I expected, and I’m already planning to pick up a few more skeins to try the same techniques with the other dyes I have on hand.
Things You’ll Need
- 1 skein of Briggs & Little ‘Regal’, white
- 1 large bowl
- white vinegar
- 3 small refillable squirt bottles, such as those sold at drugstores for travelling
- 2 or 3 Easter egg dye tablets
- plastic wrap
- stovetop steamer and pot
1. Fill the bowl with hot water. Add 1/8 cup vinegar and mix well. Place skein of yarn in bowl–pressing gently to ensure the water/vinegar mixture is absorbed. Take care not to rub or agitate the yarn. Leave to soak for an hour, then carefully remove yarn and squeeze out excess liquid.
2. Crush the dye tablets one at a time and place each crushed tablet inside one of the squirt bottles. Add hot water, replace the cover, and shake well to mix. For pastel colours, add more water–for darker, brighter colours, add less. I added about 1/3 cup water to each tablet for the yarn I painted.
3. Measure out a piece of plastic wrap 1.5 times the length of the skein of yarn. Place the wrap flat on the counter or floor–you may need a piece of tape to hold each of the ends in place. Place the skein of yarn on the wrap. Center it as best as possible.
4. Now for the fun part! Using your squirt bottles, apply the colour to the skein. Be careful how you order the colours–there will be a certain amount of colour bleed and some colours will blend better together than others. You may need to gently press down on the skein or turn it slightly to ensure that the yarn on the bottom has received an equal application of the dye.
5. After applying the dye, carefully turn the top edge of the plastic wrap down over the top of the skein. Then fold one side into the middle over top of the skein and then fold the other side of the wrap over it, forming a recatangular plastic-wrapped tube. Starting at the top end of the skein, start to roll it like a jelly roll. When you get the the bottom, take the free tail of plastic wrap and pull it tightly over the package–you may need a piece of tape to hold it in place.
6. Fill the pot 2″ deep with water and set it to boil. Once boiling, place the steamer basket on top and place the wrapped skein inside. Cover and steam for 45 minutes. Check the water level from time to time to make sure that it does not boil dry.
7. Fill the large bowl with hot water. Once the steaming is complete, remove the yarn package and carefully unwrap over the bowl. You should be able to remove the free end of the wrap and hold onto that, allowing the yarn to slide free of the plastic into the water. Let soak in the water until the water is cool. Drain. Fill bowl with warm water and place skein back in bowl. Gently press the skein to release any remaining excess dye and leave until water is cool.
8. Remove skein from bowl, gently squeeze water from the yarn, and hang to dry over night.