You can dye Tencel with acid dyes.
I got my sample of Valley Yarn’s Colrain (50% merino/50% Tencel) last week. I swatched it first to see how I liked knitting with it. It was love at first knit; so much love that I made an 8” swatch. That right there is an early warning sign of a dangerous yarn affair. Then I washed and blocked the swatch. When the blocking produced excellent results, I hung it up to see about the dreaded stretch. After 36 hours clipped to a hanger, subjected to the horrors of gravity, the swatch had grown… (dramatic drumroll please)… 0.00”. This, of course, doesn’t mean that it won’t stretch into a circus tent when worn, but chances are good that it won’t grow to full big-top size. Maybe just one of the smaller circus tents, if at all.
The swatching having been such a success, I wound some of the remaining skein for dying. I soaked the yarn in a vinegar/water mix overnight. Don’t ask me how much vinegar- I have a bad habit of not measuring when dyeing or cooking. I used the good acid dye, Jacquard Teal, instead of food coloring. Food coloring works great, but if I’m going to make a whole sweater then a few dollars for a quality dye doesn’t seem that silly. I added a little more vinegar to the dye bath while I was bringing it to a boil. I’m not sure if that helped, since I’m sure the fibers were as “open” as they were going to get from the overnight soak, but I don’t think extra vinegar actually hurts anything, so what the heck.
Again, I never measure, so I have no idea how much dye I put in. I dunked the whole mini-skein in, waited a few minutes, then pulled some out, wrapping it around a wooden spoon to keep it out of the dye. Every so often, I’d pull some more out. When the dye was exhausted (the water was clear), I rinsed the yarn, happy to see that there was no real bleeding. The color wasn’t quite what I wanted, so I repeated the process. This time, I left each section of yarn in longer. The last bit was in for almost half an hour before I decided I liked it. Rinsing again had no bleeding and then it was off to the dryer.
Beautiful, no? This is after it was re-skeined to a smaller, prettier skein for photos.
Wait until you see this:
My heart be still. The order for three 250-gram hanks is already being processed by WEBS.
And as an added bonus, it doesn’t even pill that badly! I beat up the swatch above for a few days. And while there is some pilling, it’s less than my CPH, so that’s good enough for me! Now I just have to find time to actually knit the February Lady Sweater.
Also, why is it hailing outside? Is it May or isn’t it?!