June 14, 2013

Adventures in Dyeing: Take 1

Last weekend proved to be very productive, knitting-wise.  I'm through the gusset and heel of my first Raphaelite Sock, and I caught up with Sam for our Truckee Shawlette KAL.  I also managed to fit in my first dyeing attempt.

I've had a cake of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in the colorway Springer sitting around for a millenia.  I had originally purchased (and wound) it with the idea of making some kind of scarf or hat for a friend's daughter.  At the time, she was too young for a scarf, and then the yarn was forgotten, and then it so happened that those folks became people I won't knit for.  So...I had a ball of pastel yarn I would never use.

After my friend Rachel posted pics of her Kool-Aid dyeing attempts, and I read a little about the process and discovered you could also use food coloring (which I have a ton of), I knew the time had come for me to try dyeing things myself.  At first I considered getting bare/white yarn from somewhere, but after reading through threads on the What A Kool Way to Dye group on Ravelry, I realized that I could dye OVER yarn that was already colored.  Light bulb moment--my first dyeing attempt could be FREE--I could just practice on yarns I already had in my stash that I didn't like the colors of. Yay!

As previously mentioned, I had Springer in a cake already, so my first job was to put it back into a hank.

Super high-tech on the legs of a chair.

Then I whipped up a dye bath.  Since I was over-dyeing the whole thing, I did the immersion method of putting water in a pot and mixing the dye/food coloring into that.  I wanted a pinky-purple, since Springer had some pink/purple tones already (plus we all know I love purple).  I used Americolors Electric Purple and Violet gels; since they're not drippy, but globby, I mixed them with a small amount of warm water in a glass to be sure all the color got mixed in before putting it in the dye bath.

Just hit the dye bath and already it looks better.

Then I cooked my yarn!  I let it simmer until the dye bath started to clear, then turned off the heat and let it sit.

Clear dye bath!  Yay!

After it got cool to touch, I rinsed it out in a colander and let it hang to dry.  At first I was worried it was too bright, but now I rather like it.

As you can see, I missed some spots, and some of the original color is still present. Happily, I think this will actually make it knit up in an interesting way...we shall see! All in all, I'm pleased with my dyeing experience. I didn't realize how much of the food coloring I'd actually use, though. I may buy some McCormick's to use rather than my fancy Americolors. Or just try Kool-Aid next time!

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