Thursday, January 8, 2015

Hand Dyed

No "flashing back" today folks.  Well, except to maybe tell you that I dyed yarn once, a long time ago.  It was, probably 10 years ago?  I used KoolAid and made self striping yarn.  It was fun, the socks came out cute...and stripey.  

Fast forward to Tuesday this week.  It snowed.  I had a snow day!  Justine didn't...they didn't even call for a delayed start.  When she walked to the bus it was a very light, soft snow BUT as the morning went on, it really snowed...I bet we got 4-5 inches.  It had stopped by the time school let out and I had shoveled the drive way, cleaned off the car (very easy, the snow was super soft and light) and the snow plows had done their duty.  So I did pick her up from the bus stop, at least.  Oh...and Joey doesn't start classes at AACC til later in the month, so he slept through it all. 

Anyway....back to MY snow day.  I cancelled my doctor's appointment (drive in the snow...what? are you kidding!) and thought about what to do.  Why not dye some yarn?  Pam, in an effort to thin out her stash, gave me some "naked" yarn, oops...I mean bare yarn for dyeing.  I had mentioned I'd like to try some tonal dyeing someday.  She's really wonderful and not just because she gives away yarn either.

So I did what anyone who wants to try something new and doesn't have any idea how to do it...I went to YouTube!   I watched a few videos about tonal dyeing.  These are so fun...most are regular gals, in their kitchens, shaky camera and everything.  I considered myself armed with info and ready to jump in.  Hey, it's just yarn and problem.  (You're waiting for the punch line here...but really, it was no problem!)

I used Knitpicks Bare fingering yarn and their acid dyes I bought many moons ago.

Remember my original idea about tonal dyeing?  Ok...I just couldn't do one color.  I couldn't!!!  I really wanted to but I couldn't.  Especially that pink!!!!  I CAN NOT resist that pink!

So here is what I did:
8 cups of water in a pot
a splash of white vinegar (measure out a couple tablespoons if you can just wing it and splash)

Then I brought it to a healthy simmer (not quite a boil).  I then put in the DRY yarn...important that you don't pre-soak the yarn. I pushed it down into the water with a slotted spoon.  Once submerged, I added the dye.  I had a plastic spoon, but the bowl of the spoon was too wide to dip into the jars of dye, so I used the handle of the spoon and dipped that in.  Worked like a charm!  I used a tiny bit and sprinkled some here and there, over the yarn.  I started with the yellow, then the pink, then the blue (lightest to darkest). Then I turned off the stove, put the lid on the pot and (here's the hardest part) LEFT IT ALONE.  Don't stir, don't poke (I did poke a little to get some of the dye powder on top of the water, down into the yarn), don't mess with it at all!

I didn't mess with it...but I did check it A LOT!  (It was hard to get a photo without the steam clouding up the picture.) I was so excited!!  After about 30-45 minutes, I took off the lid and let it cool a bit.  The water is supposed to be clear in the pot, that way you know all the dye has been absorbed, but I think I had too much dye in there because the water wasn't clear but it was much lighter.  That was good enough for me.  The dye says you should use one teaspoon for one pound of, um, yeah, I used probably way too much dye.  Did I mention I was excited?! 
One great tip I learned from watching the videos...use something white to check the color of the water.  I used the plastic spoon, which was white.

I took it out of the pot (it was still pretty hot) put it into a big bowl and added cooler water, a little wool wash and rinsed till the water ran clear.  Squeezed out as much water as I could, organized my skein (thank GOD for those ties that keep the yarn organized), hung it on a hanger in the bathroom to dry.  And viola! hand dyed me!!

Both sides of the hank. 
This yarn is wild. I mean WILD!!  It's got the original dye colors...yellow, pink and blue...but there's also green, orange, white, purple and everything in between.  Really fun to look at...and hopefully fun to knit!  I'll make a pair of vanilla socks with it, probably.  That's just as bright in person as the your face pink! A friend suggested I name the yarn.  Maybe I should.  Any suggestions? I have a few...Pink and Friends, Wild Pirie, 1st Time Color, Excited...
Which one do you like? Do you have a better one?

Let me just say that I have to try this again...and actually do a tonal dye.  One color. Just one! That will be tough.

And one last thing...I woke up to 9 degrees outside with -9 real feel temperature.
If you're day is warm and sunny, if you're wearing shorts and a t-shirt instead of layers and layers of clothing, if you're AC is running, not your heater, I'm sorry.  You can't look out your window and see a beautiful blanket of white on the world, you can't get a giggle watching your dog hop on three feet because she's got snow between her toes (oh, relax, I carried her home) and you can't (comfortably anyway) wear lots of woolens, you lovingly knit over the years while sitting on the couch...knitting...while looking at Winter's beauty.  

I hope you can find your silver lining today, too.

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