My teacher in the Handwork Program at Rudolph Steiner College used to hand dye–with plant dyes–all the the yarn and embroidery floss for her students to use throughout the year. She was such an inspiration to me and being proficient at plant dyeing is on my “bucket list”–using especially the plants that we have available here in Hawaii. The two pictures above are from a weekend plant dyeing workshop that I went to and also a few (messy! no niddy noddy!) skeins I dyed with fustic wood and logwood. It was a long, but satisfying project.
As I wrote about before in my niddy noddy post, I had twenty skeins of yarn ready to dye and I had one day (without kids) to do it in. I wanted to hand paint various shades of beach-y blues and greens and had some powdered (Jacquard) dyes that I wanted to use. I turned to my new favorite dyeing book by Gail Callahan “Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece”. The book offers great step-by-step methods and I want to try “solar” dyeing one day soon. But, since I had a time constraint and a lot of wool to dye, I knew I needed to try her method of dyeing wool yarn with a microwave. I found a $20 working microwave at a thrift store and I was set!
I know that some people have concerns about using microwave for their food, but using a microwave to set the dye on my yarn made it such a fun and satisfying project. It cut out so much time and mess! And, that joy (that all dyers know) when you unveil the color you have created is still the same with the microwave method. In fact, it was almost breathtaking to me to have been able to create all of these different colors in one session and then see them hanging to dry on the line.
If you’re interested in dyeing wool yarn with a microwave, let me know and I can post a quick tutorial. It makes dyeing so easy…
Now I’m off to start knitting a blanket (which might take me a year) with all of my newly dyed yarn!