September 18, 2010
Cotton yarn dyeing Process
- Buy the yarn. Purchase the yarn in a hank, not a ball. A hank looks like a long twist or braid. Ensure that the yarn is dyeable cotton. The yarn's label will indicate if the yarn is dyeable.
- Prepare the detergent to clean the yarn.
- Fill a bucket with water. There should be enough water in the bucket to submerge the yarn, even after the yarn has absorbed water.
- Place 1 tsp. (5 mL) of textile detergent into the water. Textile detergent is specifically made to remove excess dye from textiles, and to keep colors from bleeding.
- Soak the yarn in the detergent solution. Soaking the yarn will ensure that it is clean, and that all colors or substances that hinder the dyeing process are washed away.
- Place the hank of yarn into the bucket of water and soap. Use rubber gloves when handling the yarn. Rubber gloves will keep your hands from being stained with dye or chemicals.
- Allow the yarn to soak until it is completely wet, for approximately 1 hour.
- Remove the yarn from the bucket.
- Take the yarn out of the bucket of water and soap.
- Wring out the hank of yarn to remove moisture.
- Empty and rinse the bucket.
- Prepare the soda ash. Place 1/2 gallon (2 L) water and 1/2 cup (120 mL) soda ash (also known as washing soda or sodium carbonate) into the bucket. Mix the ingredients. Ensure that the soda ash dissolves.
- Soak the yarn in the soda ash solution. Soda ash helps the dye to cling to the yarn fibers. Buy soda ash at a yarn supply or crafts store.
- Place the hank of yarn into the bucket. Allow the yarn to soak for 5 minutes.
- Remove the yarn.
- Twist the yarn with slight pressure to remove moisture.
- Lay the yarn on a flat sheet of plastic. Ensure that the yarn is spread evenly in a long line.
- Mix the dye.
- Combine 1 qt. (1 L) of hot water with 3/4 cup (180 mL) urea in a large container. Ensure that the urea dissolves in the water. Urea is a chemical that keeps the yarn wet, ensuring that the dye "sticks" to the yarn. Urea is available at yarn supply or crafts stores.
- Place 1 tsp. (5 mL) of cold reactive dye into a cup. Cold reactive dye is a dye specially formulated for use with textiles.
- Pour just enough water into the cup to make a paste. Mix the dye well.
- Add 1 cup (240 mL) of the urea water to the paste.
- Use the same procedure for any additional colors you wish to use. Mix each color in a separate cup.
- Dye the yarn.
- Use a foam brush to apply the dye to the yarn. Apply the dye with short sweeping motions. Begin at one end of the yarn and move towards the opposite end. Use a separate foam brush for each color of dye.
- Flip the yarn over onto its undyed side when you have reached the end of the line of yarn.
- Repeat the application of the dye, moving from one end of the yarn to the other.
- Look inside the center portion of the yarn to ensure that all of the yarn has been dyed.
- Apply dye to any spots that you missed.
Cover the yarn. Place a plastic sheet over the yarn. Allow the yarn to remain covered for 24 hours.
11Remove the excess dye.
- Combine 1 tsp. (5 mL) textile detergent in a bucket with enough water to submerge the hank of yarn.
- Remove the plastic sheet from the yarn.
- Hold the yarn over a sink.
- Pour the soapy water over the yarn. Continue to rinse the yarn until the water is clear. Ensure that the yarn remains as free of tangles as possible.
- Twist the yarn gently to remove moisture.
- Allow the yarn to dry.
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