So, I have 4 projects on the needles. But I’m starting this:
As for the dyeing, Cookie asked how I’d compare the Knit Picks to the Henry’s Attic yarns. My Knit Picks is probably a year old, so I’m not sure that it compares to what they’re sending now. It’s serviceable yarn, but it didn’t like the dye. The difference was very stark when I was dyeing them. And, it’s not superwash.
And Chris observed that Knit Picks needs to be washed to be properly examined. I didn’t notice that. Again, maybe it’s because I was using older stuff. But I’ve done a few dye jobs with it, and I haven’t noticed any blooming at all.
Finally got to dye up the yarn I wound with my Candy Striping technique. Here’s what it looked like after it dried:
And then in-skein:
For this one, I used Knit Picks Dye Your Own as a the base yarn. It behaved very differently from the yarn I dyed for Dye-O-Rama, which was Henry’s Attic Kona Superwash (from Diva Knitting). For one thing, the Knit Picks yarn didn’t bloom at all, so the size the strands before and after dyeing were the same. I’m much more confident that the knitting gauge that I based the striping on will work out on this one. However, it also took a lot longer to absorb the dye than the Kona did and as a result, a lot of dye crept up the damp strands and got into the white:
If you want to have an idea what the knitted yarn will look like, click here. Just remember that with the Candy Striping technique, the order of the stripes will be random.
Anyway, I’m done with dyeing for the time being. I have a bunch of big stuff coming up and as much fun as the dyeing is, I want to work on projects again. Maybe I finally finish Mermaid.
First, I really don’t know what to say about this.
But about this, I’ll say: If you can dream it, you can knit it.
After my yarn dried out, I had this lovely mess to wind into a skein:
It wasn’t as bad as it seems. I did a good job binding the subskeins and keeping them sorted. And I marked the “top” end so I was able to lay it all out and rewind it with a minimum of fuss. First I wound it into a ball because my ball winder made for convenient storage as I sorted out small bits of yarn vomit. Then I used a PVC niddy noddy to make it into this:
And a close-up:
I mailed it off to my swap buddy yesterday morning. I’m guessing she’ll get it tomorrow. It does stripe, and I believe that I wound it without errors, but the proof’s in the knitting. For those who don’t want to wait to see what it might look like, you can see the prototype I based my calculations on by clicking here.
The only thing I didn’t count on with all my copious planning was to see how the yarn would change after it was dyed. I bought fingering weight yarn to dye, but it bloomed quite a bit and almost looked worsted weight. On the one hand, I didn’t expect this, because I haven’t seen any change with the Knit Picks yarn I used to practice with. On the other hand, I’ve made and washed plenty of gauge swatches. I just didn’t even think about it.
So, I have one other skein to dye up for something else. It’s been sitting in a ziplock of water waiting for me to get a few free moments. But I worked 13.5 hours today, so all I could do when I got home was eat and watch some TV. I knit a few rows on Mermaid, but now I’m overcompensating and my gauge is really loose. I’ll have to knit a few more rows and see how it sits with me.
I finally decided on my striping pattern and the colors I’m using and had to get my butt in gear because the yarn has to be mailed on Monday!!
This is what it looked like after I wound it up last night:
Today I mixed up more dye and dunked each subskein in a dish of water, dye, and vinegar. After my far too saturated navy blue, I started slowly. What I didn’t expect was that the “good” yarn I’d bought for the swap sucked up dye like it was going out of style.
What you see in this shot is the dark blue yarn in a dish of clear water. Water that only a couple of minutes before had been filled with dye as dark as the dish you see to its right. I’d pick up the yarn, squeeze out the extra water, swap the dishes, and put the yarn back in. In almost no time, the yarn soaked up all the dye and the water was clear.
As you can see in this next shot, after I repeated that process many times, it got darker. There’s the light blue I used too.
Several trips through the microwave and a bunch of rinsing and now it’s hanging up to dry. It’s dripping madly right now, causing my cat, Mough (with a fascination with water), to keep an eye on it and tell me about the progress. Hopefully it will be mostly dry tomorrow so that I can package it up.
Also tonight I ripped back Mermaid. Somehow, I have one more stitch than I’m supposed to here, but I don’t feel like ripping back further to figure out why. One little stitch won’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
And since I was in a ripping mood, I also ripped back my Rock and Weave socks. You may remember, they were too big when I tried them on. Well, I’ve ripped back several rows on the heel flap and I’m ready to turn the heel and get back to working on the foot again.
That’s all for today. Aside from finishing up the dyed skein, I have to do some real work tomorrow, so I won’t be having much fun. But I will leave you with one last piece of wisdom. If you’re dyeing and have vinegar in a glass and water in a glass and need to know which is which, don’t sniff too hard. The vinegar hurts.
Just wanted to show you what I did with the M&M’s the other night. It’s all wound up and ready to go. It’s soaking in water right now. I will probably do the dyeing tomorrow. And I’m working on one other stripe pattern. I “swatched” two up with the perforated paper and dye samples and they’re stewing for a bit while I decide.
Update: I looked closely at Mermaid. Here she is:
So, it seems that my gauge took a turn for the tight after the last dark purple hem gusset. I’m guessing that’s because I could finally see the end in sight and I was madly knitting to get there. Fast and tight. And looking at it, and how much denser the fabric is compared to the front and how much shorter (I lined up the bottom hems, which you can’t see), I think I will rip back to that gusset and re-finish from there. I don’t think I can block that side that much bigger, so I’m not gonna even try. It should only take a couple of days.
Also, in case you’re wondering what the white yarn is — it’s holding live stitches for the i-cord bind-off.
How will I use this to create self-striping sock yarn?
Nancy J. says it will be my color inspiration and energy source. That’s partially right. But not the key use. Keep thinking.
Anna thinks I’ll line them up in stripes. “It’s either math-related or mouth-related–you will eat them.” She’s right. I have been eating them. And they are math related, but they aren’t lined up.
Wow! Cookie nailed it! I’m randomizing my striping by picking the next color I’ll wind out of the bowl.
And Jessica got the other part — the number of candies of a color determines the proportion of stripes that will be that color. In this case, it should be about even.
I’m calling the technique Candy Striping.
Okay, you guys are too good. I’ll have to think of something harder next time.
Over the weekend, I played with chemistry in my kitchen. One face mask, an ever dwindling ball of undyed yarn, a dozen rubber gloves, some disposable microwave containers, and 7 bottles of Jacquard dyes.
Using the cake-leveler/niddy noddy I discussed before, I wound out a pile of ~20 ft skeins, tied them loosely with some white cotton, and left them to soak while I mixed up dyes.
Each color was mixed up with some water and some vinegar. A skein of yarn was placed in a shallow microwave dish with about an inch of water. Using a tsp dropper, I squirted the dye mix into the yarn water until I felt I had the right amount of color. I placed a lid on loosely and popped the whole thing into the microwave for a couple of minutes. Some went for several trips through, some dyes exhausted during the resting periods, some never did. Some colors didn’t come out as I had hoped, so I started getting creative. After the yarn cooled a bit, I set it in a plastic collander and rinsed it with my sink sprayer. Finally it got to hang on a hanger to dry:
Now I’ll show you my final skeins in batches and discuss what I learned with each one. First up, my blues:
Maybe you can read my tags to see what the colors are, but I’ll give you a tour. The bottom ball is the first one I dyed. I was using Navy Blue dye and I was a little overambitious with my very scientific dye mixture. I did 1 part dye powder, 2 parts vinegar, 4 parts water (where 1 part is 1/2 tsp). All went into a little storage bottle and I shook well. Then I used the dropper to put a tsp of dye on the yarn. After 2 minutes in the microwave, I had the color you see there. Nearly black. And there was tons of dye left in the dish. I removed the yarn and rinsed it, added water to the dish, and poured the remaining dye into the dye bottle. Clearly, this was far too much dye powder. I’ll call your attention to the strand to the left of the balls, this is the cotton yarn that held the super-saturated skein together. The blue dye crawled up it.
A second time through for Navy, I put a lot of water in the dish with the yarn and added a tiny amount of the dye mixture to the water. The water turned black right away. Again, the dye didn’t exhaust completely, but I got a Navy with a color you can see. Almost indigo (there was a lot of purple in the dyebath). This is the 2nd ball from the bottom.
For my next dye color, I was a lot less scientific, but had a lot more control over my color. I added a very small amount of dye powder and more water and vinegar. In the middle is Brililant Blue. Above it is Sapphire Blue. They’re very close, but distinct under the Ott-Lite. However, they aren’t useful to stripe together. Above them is Purple.
Here’s my second set of colors:
At the bottom is Pink. Above it is Fuschia, or what I think should be called Electric Pink. I’m not all that pleased with the Fuschia. It’s a lovely color, but I was expecting something with a little more red/purple to it. And as I wasn’t pleased with the Purple, I decided to mix them to see what I’d get. That’s 2nd from the top. I wanted a brighter purple, so I started with Fuschia and added Purple unti it felt right. At the top is the Purple from the last shot, so you can compare.
The other interesting thing I noted was that the pink shades never exhausted completely. I tried several trips through the microwave. I let them sit out a long time afterward. Still a lot of dye in the water. Guess this must be a property of the reds.
Next up, the last of the original colors.
My last acid dye was Sky Blue. I was hoping for something light, and what I got my first time around was the 2nd from the top. All in all, not that different from the other two bright blues I had. I was hoping for stripes in shades of blues and out of frustration that none of these would work together, I pulled out my Wilton dyes. 2nd from the bottom is their Sky Blue. A much brighter shade, but still not something I see working with the other blues I had. So I tried the Jacquard Sky Blue again, but didn’t use as much dye in the dish. Through the microwave, I learned an important lesson — the dye darkens as it heats, so I need to start small and add more later if I’m not getting the colors I want. The 2nd try with Jacquard Sky Blue is at the top. It was still damp when it was time for photos, so it’s not balled up.
Then, feeling like I needed another color in the mix, I grabbed Wilton’s Juniper Green and gave it a shot. That’s what you see at the bottom.
Looking over the colors I had laying out to dry, I knew I wanted a navy as the base color in my stripes, but I wasn’t happy with the navy I had. Too dark, not the character I was going for. The lighter shades that crawled up the cotton thread didn’t thrill me either. So I decided to use a little navy dye to darken one of my other blues. I choose the Sapphire Blue because it was a little more somber than the others. I added a tiny bit of the Navy dye mix and got the color in the middle of this shot:
That’s what I’m going for as I move forward.
Yesterday, I showed you my preforated paper stripe planner. Here it is again:
Here I’m using Navy/Sapphire with Pink and Juniper Green stripes. It works a lot better than I expected it to, so although I hadn’t intended to use the Wilton dye for my final skein, I think I might. I still have to settle on a stripe pattern, but now that I have the base yarn, I also have to swatch to find out the right gauge for my calculations. Decisions, decisions!
I spent the weekend cleaning up around the house. The last few weeks have had some travel and some stress and things were piling up. And I needed the house to be functional.
One of the things I unearthed was my May Project: Colorswap package from Jen of MonkeyKnits.
Here’s what I saw when I opened the box:
And inside was a pile of goodies. Mini planters of Parsley and Thyme; a Feng Shui candle; two gorgeous colors of Malabrigo; a green Chibi; a pretty journal; some great little flower magnets (Jen, did you make these?); some fruity ice cubes; a pair of fuzzy socks; and some fab stitch markers (Jen, did you make these?!):
Some close ups under the Ott-Lite:
Rainforest Malabrigo (green and purple!):
The stitch markers (is that jasper?):
Thank you, Jen!
This photo might tell you what I did with the rest of my weekend:
Yep, I played with my Jacquard acid dyes. I dyed up a pile of ~20 ft sample skeins in all my colors to play around with. This post is already kind of long, so I’ll describe my colors and process in more detail tomorrow. But why did I dye such long skeins? So I could do this:
Using a piece of perforated paper (commonly used in cross-stitch), I carefully trimmed the sides to expose a set of holes. Then, after winding all my samples into small butterflies, I wound colors around the paper to try out different striping patterns. I used one strand of yarn to represent one row of a knitted stripe and used the perforation notches at the sides to hold each strand in place. Obviously, this pattern is rather simple, and won’t be one getting sent off to my swap partner, but I wanted to show you how it worked. After I eat a bit, I’m going to spent most of tonight trying out different stripes.
Also, about yesterday’s post. From Chris’ comment, I can tell she figured it out, but Mari put words to it. My gauge on Mermaid got tighter as I knit it. So the left front is shorter (and denser) than the right front. Given my above activities (and a lack of good will toward Mermaid at the moment), I haven’t looked closely to figure out how far back I need to rip it to make things right. At least back to the second armhole. Expect to see another post like this soon.
I put all of my Adventures in Dyeing posts together on one convenient page for easy reference. I’ve also linked it to my sidebar under “Topics in Techniques”. Now you don’t need to search through archives to find the posts.
My own dye plans are progressing. I got the dyes I ordered. I got the yarn I ordered, decided the gauge was too fine, and ordered something different. That will arrive on Friday.
I’ve been sketching out different striping patterns. Trying to settle on something. I need to play with the dyes a bit, just to see what I get out of them. That should help me plan. I think I’m going for a mix of wide and narrow stripes. The wide stripes will be the base color. The narrow stripes will be accent colors. When I’m mixing my dye solutions, I’ll dye up some larger chunks of sample yarns and then I’ll line up strands as rows to play with striping ideas.
Update: Because Mari and Chris asked….I ordered some Jacquard acid dyes. And yes, one of them is purple.