As I stated before, my thirst for Teal (or maybe turquoise, I’m not sure of the truly correct descriptor) has not been sated. The dye tests continue, this time a little more scientifically than the last [link]. The fiber I’ve used this time is Knitpicks ‘bare’ superwash merino DK, and I am dying it to knit a sweater, which I have designed. It’s going to be called ‘Biased’, but I want it to be a surprise, so I’m not going to debut it here until it’s 100% done.

My process is as follows:

  1. Make solutions of the jacquard acid dye colors that I use (8 oz of water, 1 tsp of dye powder).
    Make several mini-skeins of the yarn to be dyed, and soak these in lukewarm water for 30 minutes or more.
  2. Fill mason jars 2/3 full of water, and then prepare the test dye baths by adding 1 tbsp of vinegar, and then adding dye solution using an eyedropper, and recording the amount of each dye colour added. I find the most important thing to note is the proportion of one dye to another, as this is one thing you can duplicate in your full-scale dyeing later.
  3. Drop the mini-skeins into the test dye-baths, cover the mason jars with plastic wrap, and put them in the microwave for 2 minutes or so, till they get really hot. Let cool for a few minutes, then repeat. When the dye baths are exhausted, or the test skein has reached the desired color, pull the skeins out of the jars, rinse, and let dry.
  4. When dry, knit up the yarns into a test swatch – I think this is important because the color always looks much different to me once it is knitted up; plus this allows you to test the yarn out, and determine gauge, if you haven’t already.

Once you have decided on the color you like best out of the lot, you can go ahead and dye the entire lot by making a much larger dye-bath with the same proportion of dyes. Likely it will come out slightly differently than the mini-swatch, as it will be dyed on the stovetop, instead of the microwave, and in a larger skein, which I find often results in a less uniform colour. Also, unless you precisely calculated the weight of mini-skein, and extrapolated the dye amounts for your larger dye lot to correspond, the colour you achieve may be lighter or deeper, but I’ve found that I can just pull the skein out of the pot when I feel it’s reached the right shade.

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