An Intro to Jacquard Dyeing

Have you ever dyed fiber with Jaquard Acid Dyes? Neither have I! Kim here at Knit Picks is a pro. So I asked her to do some dyeing and take some photos, and she made it looks so easy!  She has two methods: one uses a crockpot and takes about 3 hours (including cooling time) and one uses a microwave and takes about (wait for it) 4 minutes! Can you believe it? It’s totally clean and easy, too. Here’s Kim’s description of each method:

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From Kim: “I love to dye fiber! The brighter the better! Here I’m showing you two techniques that I used with wool fiber. For both methods, I used the same Jaquard Acid Yarn Dyes in  Lilac, Sapphire Blue, and Sky Blue. I used Wool of the Andes Superwash Bulky with the crockpot method and Wool of the Andes Roving for the microwave technique. Both processes will give you a mottled, multi-color look.”

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Prep: “Unwrap your fiber from the packaging, and tie them neatly in a few places so the bundle stays together (there’s nothing worse than a tangled mess when you’re done!)”.

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Soak: “Prepare a solution of warm water and vinegar and soak your fiber. When the fiber is saturated, squeeze out the excess water.”

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Crockpot Method (using Bare Wool of the Andes Superwash Bulky Yarn): “Use a crockpot that won’t be used for food again. Add some of the water/vinegar solution to the bottom, then lay half the hank in the crockpot and half out. Sprinkle the dye directly onto the fiber.  The more dye you use, the bolder the color, but there’s only so much dye the yarn can absorb, so you don’t want to waste dye by adding too much.”

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Fold and Repeat: “Fold the second half of the yarn on top of the layer you just put dye on. Repeat the process of sprinkling dye onto the side of the yarn that was bare.  Add more water/vinegar solution to the crockpot until the fiber is barely covered. Use a stick or spoon (not to be used with food afterward) to poke the fiber down below the water.”

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Heat: “Turn the crockpot on high and cook until the water is fairly clear, typically about 3 hours. Turn the crockpot off, and let the solution and fiber cool. “

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Microwave Version (using Bare Wool of the Andes Roving): “Just to be safe, use a microwave that won’t be used for food again (they’re so cheap these days, and even cheaper at garage sales!). Lay out a piece of plastic wrap on your work surface that is double the width of your fiber, and quite a bit longer than your skein when stretched out. Sprinkle the dye randomly over the fiber. Add a little extra water to make sure the fiber is wet, but not over-saturated (or you’ll have a mess!).”

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Cover and “massage”: “Fold the plastic wrap over the fiber lengthwise.  Carefully massage the dye into the fiber.  The more massaging, the less white will show in the end product.”

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Zip it Up:”When you are satisfied with the distribution, fold in the ends of the plastic wrap. Then fold the whole package in half and place it in a gallon-sized Ziplock bag.”

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Heat: “Place in the microwave and cook on high for 1 minute.  Flip the package over and cook another minute. Repeat this process two more times, for a total of 4 minutes, or continue until the fiber is good and hot.  Let it cool.”

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Final stage:  “Take the cooled fiber and rinse well.  Gently squeeze the excess water out.  Use an old towel to squeeze any extra water out and hang to dry. Then enjoy your beautiful creation whether knitting, spinning or wet felting.”

Thanks, Kim! Wasn’t that great? Both methods seem really fun and easy, and I love the idea of getting some dye colors I love (hello…yellow and orange) and coming up with yarn that no one else has in just 4 minutes! You can find all of our BARE products perfect for dyeing HERE and our selection of Jacquard acid dyes HERE. Happy dyeing! And if you try it, send us a link to your results, won’t you?


2 comments

  1. Sherecie / January 17, 2015

    Thanks for the great tutorial! I’ve been interested in dyeing for a while, but haven’t had the confidence. This looks super easy!

  2. Mimiknits / February 1, 2015

    Thank you for these articles on dyeing yarn. It’s sounds so easy with your step by step directions! I’m going to have to try!