Saturday, February 04, 2006

As I Lay Dyeing

I will not even go in to the issues I have with my entire blog-post being "eaten" just as I was ready to hit the "publish post" button. Oh, no. Will not go there! Nor will I touch on the difficulties of getting photos on this post. You get what you pay for andd Blogger is free.

This particualr entry will be very "picture heavy" and if you've done the Dye Wool In Your Kitchen With Kool-Aid and a Crock Pot thing, you may want to skip today's entry.

Let's start by discussing why we are here. Several months ago, when it was reasonably warm outside, I decided to "rescue" some Brown Sheep Vanilla Wildfoote (sock yarn wool/nylon) from the foreverness of being stash by doing a little "dye experiment." (I bought it with the intention of creating a masterpiece christening gown--the one in the Beatrix Potter knitting book if anyone cares.)

I had read that "grape," because of some curious dye migration thing (technical term) created its own variegations because of the way the red #22 and the blue #16 (or whatever) dyes used to make it purple, dispersed at different rates along the shaft of the material being dyed--sort of a color race, if you will.

Anyway. I was less than pleased with the result, so I decided to throw in some cheap-o Fruit Punch Flavoraid. (Trust me on this, spend the extra nickel and get the name brand!)

The resulting yarn was three shades of purple/orange mud. The photo does not do it justice! The mud yarn was stashed even deeper than the Vanilla, and I moved on. (The red/blue baby socks from an earlier post are the result of the next effort. I learned from my mistakes, sort of.)

So, with the weather cooperating, I decided to attempt a rescue of the mud yarn.

First, I re-skeined the offending yarn. Yes, those are my kitchen chairs. I usually use my desk chair for skeining, but I was multi-tasking (cooking dinner) and did not want to have to run back and forth while burning the burgers.

I tied the skein in several places with some ack yarn I had on hand, then soaked the yarn in clear, warm water, and spun out the excess (putting my salad spinner to work for both the soaking and the spinning).

Next, I mixed up a batch of Blue Raspberry whatever and about 6 cups of water in my crock pot. I turned the crock pot to "high, 4 hours" (big mistake, but said crock pot and I are working out our "issues."

and dropped the soaked and spun yarn into the dye bath.

I put the lid on and went downstairs to watch a video (Lord of War, Nicholas Cage, highly political, thought provoking, decent movie).

When the Other Half and I took a popcorn-making break about an hour into the movie, I returned to the dye pot (which was boiling, for the sake of FSM, hence my "issues").

I turned off the heat and allowed the yarn, water, and crockpot to cool overnight. (And it was still warm in the morning.)

This is a critical step if you are dyeing anything that is likely to felt (not my sock yarn, but certainly any "regular" wool that isn't superwash). You do not want to shock the yarn and risk felting it, at least not accidently.

When I removed the yarn, I discovered (as I expected) that the dye was completely "spent," and the water in the crock pot was clear, though still smelling very strongly of blue raspberry (we really did let our kids consume this crap in massive quantities, didn't we?)

The overdyed yarn was an improvement on the original, though it's hard to tell the difference in the photos. It's no longer glaringly orange and purple, but now a more muted purple. I think I might just use it to make socks for me.

I had so much fun that I decided to dye a couple more balls of the Wildfoote. (I have/had 10 all together.)

This is more of a "kettle dye" with pink lemonade (4 packets, 6 cups water, 2-50 gram balls). It has the look of Manos solids or Araucania Nature Wool, without the bulk.


Ooh, Pretty! I like pinque.
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