Tuesday, 24 November 2015

How to mix dye stock

When I started out dyeing yarn 8 years ago one of the challenges I came across was finding out the very basic first steps like mixing my dye stock solution. I keep it very simple and I'm going to share with you how I mix my dye stock.

I use acid dyes from Dharma, Jacquard and Prochem. 

You will need a 2 cup measuring cup, a spoon for stirring, measuring spoons, gloves and a mask. Make sure these items are designated for dyeing because they will no longer be food safe. 

Put on your mask and gloves and scoop out 1 tsp of dye powder. Make sure not to have any fans on or windows open to minimize the dye powder getting into the air. I didn't do it for the photos but I usually wet my paper towel to help collect any dye particles that get into the air. 

Put the dye powder into your measuring cup first and then add 2 cups of hot water. The hot water will help dissolve the dye, some colors are more stubborn to dissolve. Alternatively you can start by adding a tablespoon of hot water and create a paste before adding the rest of the water. I'm too impatient so I skip making the paste. I use 1 tsp of dye powder to 2 cups of water. You can use more powder but some colors clump up into a gel if they are too concentrated so I found this ratio works well for me.  

Stir, stir, stir until all the dye is dissolved. 

Pour your stock solution into a bottle. I like to recycle water bottles and give them new life as dye stock bottles. Shake them well, label the color and you're done! That's how you mix stock solution. If you're a hobby dyer you can always mix a smaller amount because the solution won't last forever. It will deteriorate over time and need to be rinsed out and a new mix made.