I’ve been playing with the dyepots again after spending a previous weekend introducing some children to Kool-Aid dyeing. I went back to resist-dyed yarn to try out a different (and hopefully faster) way of preparing the skeins for dyeing. The last time, I used thin crochet cotton and figure-8 ties. This resulted in very small blips of undyed areas, and the process of tying that many skein ties was time consuming. (I immersion-dyed the yarn in sequential baths, using 2 related colors. Handpainting is a little too slow for Impatient Me.)
For the first attempt, I bought some Velcro ties (used for tidying computer cables) and wrapped them around the yarn instead. This turned out to be a VERY BAD idea for several reasons. First, yarn sticks like a mofo to the hook side of the ties. Yes, I knew yarn would stick to the tie, but I hadn’t anticipated JUST HOW RELUCTANTLY it would release. The yarn was mangled severely in several places. Second, the plastic gets somewhat melty in the dyebath and is difficult to remove.
But the yarn came out very pretty! The tones are subtle, like the semi-solid handdyed yarns that are popular these days. I used Meilenweit sock yarn and Washfast dyes in Deep Orchid and Raspberry Sorbet.
For the second skein (handspun Shetland, the white skein described here), I used strips cut from a plastic grocery bag. They were much faster to tie, didn’t stick or melt, and were easy to remove. Best of all, they worked wonderfully as a resist!
I used Washfast dyes, Maple Sugar and Terra Cotta.
Overall, I think I prefer dyeing fiber before spinning to ensure more subtlety and homogeneity in the results. However, a double dyebath method is a great alternate method if coordinating colors and sufficiently light shades are used.