4
April
2006

Misadventures in Dyeing

Accomplished in 2947 easy steps:

  • Join Project Colorswap.
  • Decide that a fun part of the package would be to do a hand-dyed skein of sock yarn using the month’s colors, orange and yellow, remembering the stash of Knit Picks Color Your Own in the closet.
  • Decide to be ambitious and make the colors fade toward each other from opposite ends of the yarn.
  • Wind a skein of yarn.
  • Hand wind it doubled so the two sock skeins match perfectly and so that one end is safely hidden inside the ball where it will be free from the first color of dye.
  • Soak ball overnight in ziplock bag of vinegar water to make sure it’s all damp and ready.
  • Use some Wilton dye and your husband’s giant beer brewing pot to dye the first color one evening.
  • Let it cool overnight.
  • Rinse and unwind ball and discover that dye only penetrated about 3 layers into the ball and so you have a mostly white yarn with lots of saturated color at one end.
  • Decide that you used too much liquid in the giant pot and that the hand-wound ball wasn’t letting the color get to the inside of the ball.
  • Let yarn dry overnight.
  • Rewind ball with ball winder deciding that if some color gets toward the center and other end of the ball, it will be a neat effect.
  • Soak cake overnight in container of vinegar water.
  • Re-attempt dyeing first color again using husband’s giant beer brewing pot again and much less water.
  • After 4 hours letting dye bath bake on the stove while watching TV, investigate weird noise and discover that dye bath has nearly boiled dry and nearly ruined beer brewing pot.
  • Let yarn cool overnight.
  • Rinse and unwind yarn, discovering better color distribution, mostly white on the “inside”, and no damage from the near accident with the heat and lack of sufficient liquid.
  • Let yarn dry overnight.
  • Rewind yarn into cake with the mostly white parts on the outside and more loosely than before.
  • Buy Crock Pot.
  • Spend one night testing Crock Pot temperatures with just water and rigged contraption to hold candy thermometer in Pot.
  • Learn Crock Pot heats hotter if lid is on.
  • Soak cake overnight in container of vinegar water.
  • Finally use color #2 to dye yarn in Crock Pot for an evening.
  • Learn that dye floats and that you have to turn it over a few times during the dyeing cycle to get even color.
  • Let Crock Pot cool down overnight.
  • Unwind yarn to find decent distribution of colors, but not quite what you were expecting, maybe a little too much of color #2 because the ball was wound more loosely.
  • Set yarn out to dry for a final time.
  • Resolve to get professionally dyed yarn for Colorswap partner.

Lessons learned:

  1. Crock Pots make dyeing better
  2. Spend the extra $10 for the Crock Pot with the white pot so you can see when the dyebath has exhausted.
  3. The special breadstick pan with lots of perforated holes that you haven’t used in 5 years makes a good platform for rinsing and drying dyed yarn.
  4. I’m a perfectionist. Okay, maybe that’s not a new lesson.

Okay, so I guess you want to see it….
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