NZ Gardener - Gifts from the Gardens - - Crafts -

Make up your dyes first us­ing your cho­sen plant ma­te­rial, like beet­root for red, woad for blue and mad­der for or­ange-red (plants are avail­able from Kahikatea Farm). To pre­pare yarn, un­ravel the ball and wrap the yarn around the back of a chair. Tie with white string in a cou­ple of places. When dye­ing wool yarn you need acid for the dye to bond. Usu­ally alum and cream of tar­tar is used, but you can also use white vine­gar. Soak the yarn in the acid bath for at least 1 hour be­fore dye­ing. Full a tub or sink with cool wa­ter and add ¼ cup vine­gar per 450g yarn. After soak­ing, re­move yarn from tub and squeeze out ex­cess wa­ter. Do not wring. Loosely tie the yarn to­gether in a round, as shown, if you want to dye in equal por­tions. Paint dye onto the yarn in gen­er­ous amounts. You want to en­sure you add enough dye to sat­u­rate all the yarn with­out over-sat­u­rat­ing it. You can turn the yarn over if nec­es­sary. Wear­ing plas­tic gloves, press down to en­sure the dye sinks into the mid­dle. Rinse gloves be­tween each colour. Place the yarn in a Pyrex casse­role dish and cover with the lid. Place the casse­role dish in the mi­crowave and heat on nor­mal set­ting for 2 min­utes. Al­low to sit for 2 min­utes, then heat again for an­other 2 min­utes. Let sit for 5 min­utes, then heat for a fi­nal 2 more min­utes. The dish will be hot, so use oven mitts to re­move it from the mi­crowave. Leave the yarn un­touched un­til it cools down. When com­pletely cool, re­move the yarn from the dish and rinse in luke­warm wa­ter. As vine­gar leaves a scent, fill a sink with luke­warm wa­ter and a few drops of dish de­ter­gent or baby sham­poo and leave your yarn to soak for a bit, swirling it about oc­ca­sion­ally. This will get rid of any vine­gar smell. Rinse again in luke­warm wa­ter un­til the suds dis­ap­pear, squeeze out ex­cess wa­ter, then hang to dry – it can take 2-4 days to dry, de­pend­ing on the weather. Your yarn is then ready to use.

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