I have dyed yarn in the past using the Easter Egg dye tablets. In fact, my first ever hand dyed yarn was done using an dye kit I bought at a Dollar Store, but my kit had tablets. I had not seen the liquid dyes, and was curious how they would work. I tried our local Dollar Store, but the only one they had with liquid in it only had 3 colours and game with a "gold glaze." I did buy it, but have not tried to use it yet. As a side note, I wont be able to make gold yarn because the glaze does not really contain any colours... it is mostly sparkly stuff, alcohol and wax by the look of it.
Off to WalMart I went in search of a kit that had the liquid dyes, and I found this one:
|Roll on dye for Easter Eggs|
Now these kits contain a lot of stuff you don't need if you are dyeing yarn. I have given away lots of stickers and glitter and glue to friends with kids, and thrown out I don't know how many little metal holders, because I just don't need them. Here are the contents of this kit - less to throw away, but not so sure that any of it could be used for other things.
|Paint rollers, stands (I think) and 5 packages of dye|
So I gathered up everything I was going to need/use for this experiment
- 1 roll it! kit
- 1 skein of bare Opal sock yarn, 96g (due to a miscalculation when using my new yarn swift with counter)
- 5 mason jars (500ml size)
- 1 supersized rimmed baking sheet
- 1 cooling rack that fits inside the rimmed baking sheet
- Citric Acid powder
- Medicinal syringes
- Plastic Wrap
- Microwave Safe place
- Baby Shampoo and Moisturizing Conditioner
First thing I did was soak my yarn. Because I am hand painting the yarn, I added one tablespoon of powdered citric acid to the warm water I soaked the yarn in. This is about equivalent to 1 cup of vinegar, if you want to use that instead. Adding the citric acid to the soaking water helps the dye strike faster. Let the yarn soak for at least half an hour. I think this one soaked for about an hour and half, just because I got distracted with a few other things, including doing the dishes so I could rinse my yarn when I was done.
And then it was time to mix up the dye stock. To make this a fair comparison to how I dye with food colouring, I used the same amount of water. Now, for the most part, the amount of water does not impact the strength of the dye. It is just the medium used to get the dye on to the yarn. However, with hand painting, I do find that you can impact the intensity of the colour by having more water in the dye stock. I think this has more to do with the fact that if you have more dye stock and are hand painting, there is a greater possibility that you are going to have dye stock left over, which means you didn't use all the dye, so the colour is lighter.
I started by just putting the dye in the mason jars, so I could see how much dye I had to work with.
|The contents of the dye packets, added to the mason jars|
|Yellow and pink look a little light, but let's see how it goes|
I set up my cooling rack inside my rimmed baking sheet, and prepared to apply the colours. This is a really great tip that I got from someone on Ravelry a while back and I rarely every hand paint yarn without using this method. The baking sheet catches the excess water, and it also prevents the dye from pooling under the skein, which can cause the colours to run together and result in a muddle mess. Plus, you can squeeze out the excess water as you go, which also helps to stop the colours from running together. Colour travels really fast on wet yarn.
|Ready to add the colour! I like to section in a squarish type shape|
As I was applying the colours, it seemed like the yellow and the pink were both very pale. I knew the blue was going to be somewhat pastel, just based on the dye stock, and the pink and yellow did look a lot more pastel than what I am used to working with. And sure enough, as I was applying it, they were both looking very light. The yellow was particularly light, and I wasn't even sure it was going to look yellow... it only looked about half a shade or so darker than the bare yarn. I did find, however, that as I added more dye to the individual sections, those colours were getting brighter. So the more I layered them, the more intense they got.
|The top of the skein, after I applied the colours|
|After the skein was flipped over|
I kept applying the dye to the various sections of yarn until it was all used up. I normally have dye stock left over when I mix up this much, but I wanted this to be a really good test of the liquid dye, so I made sure to use it all. I did have to empty the extra water out of the baking tray twice during this process.
|After the dye was all applied|
|After being heat set, before washing|
Here is the yarn right out of the dryer, before it was re-skeined
|The skein laid out flat|
|One side of the twisted skein|
|And the other side of the twisted skein|
So my answer to the question of "can you use the liquid Easter Egg dyes to dye yarn" is a very enthusiastic yes! I did find that the colours are a little more muted than I normally work with, but I am the queen of saturated colours. Most people who have seen it so far love it, and have said the colours are very bright and vivid as it is. Even if they are not the neons I am used to.
I am very happy with how it turned out, and think it will make some very pretty socks. I almost think that having the smaller sections of pink make the pink stand out more, so I am looking forward to knitting this us in the near future. Although I have to finish one sock that is in progress, and dye up and knit for another pair of socks that is part of a KAL due by the end of the month. But hopefully I will have Easter socks knit in time for Easter.
So if you are in the stores after Easter and you see these kits on sale, grab a bunch of them! Or, if you just love how this looks and want to try it right now, $2.48 is really not a lot of money, so splurge on one or two kits at full price. Although when these go on sale for half price, I might pick up two more of them and double the dye in the dye stock to see how deep I can get the colours ;)