Hellooooo hellloooo helooooo!
It’s been a while, partly because I’ve been working hard to get my etsy shop up and running, mostly because I’ve been having too much fun dyeing yarn and I completely forgot to write about it.
So first things first. my etsy shop, i’m extremely proud and excited to say it’s open ! see slideshow for some of the pretty squishiness availiable !
I’m really excited and have lots of ideas coming up for the future. Exciting times at Woolly Mum HQ !!
Right, onto the next order of business … the business of solar dyes.
I stumbled upon solar dyes one day in a ‘pinterest procrastination’ hour, the basic principle is that you add your yarn to a Jar (I find pickle jars are perfect for one skein, for bigger amounts kilner jars may be the way forward) add water, and your dyestuff’s then leave in the sun for x amount of days. The heat from the solar power helps to fix the dyestuff’s to the yarn.
The end results are stunning and one of a kind variations in colour, using solar dyed yarn you can create beautiful unique pieces.
So here are some frequently asked questions regarding solar dyes that I get asked a lot, and my answers:
But you live in the UK … what sun ?
Okay i’ll give you that, to many the UK seems grey constantly. The Key word in this is ‘solar’ not ‘sun’, yes those words basically mean the same thing, but so long as the jars are left in a spot with some light on it they don’t necessarily need to be under strong sunlight. If you attempt this and you have a sudden rainy/grey spell simply leave your jars for longer, which brings me on to my next point…
How long do you leave the yarn in the jars for ?
This is purely down to the dyers preference, I leave mine in for as long as possible to ensure a good colour saturation, 2-3 weeks seems to be good. although fellow natural dyers have left theirs in the pot for 1-2 months before long (i’m impatient, to be honest it’s a wonder I manage 2-3 weeks!)
Mine are all labelled so that I remember how long they’ve been in the pot.
That seems like a long time doesn’t it damage the yarn ?
No, is the short answer to that. check the yarn regularly, turn if needed too and top up with water if needed too.
What about fixing agents?
Now this is the question that fills me with dread, as a person who sells this yarn I don’t want to give out my recipes. what I will say is that I use a mordant, the yarn could be pre mordanted or the mordant could be added to the pot (again I can’t tell you which I do). If you are new to dying all together you could add white vinegar to your pot, not as great a fixing agent as others but is perfect for practising add a splash to the water.
So … is it colourfast?
yes , providing you’ve done all of the above your yarn should be colourfast.
Is it washfast ?
Again providing you have done all of the above it should be! rinse well once you take the yarn out of the jar and allow the yarn to dry properly then you’re good to go!
So there you have it, my solar dyeing 101. It is one of my favourite methods of dyeing as if you’re like me and have a crazy toddler who keeps you busy, the jars can be made up while said monster is eating breakfast then left outside and forgotten about.
If you have ago let me know how you get on:
thanks and happy dyeing !! xx