Monday, January 28, 2008

Choose Your Own Adventure

Today I come to you from my humble kitchen, where my Frankenstein-y dye experiments continue. But first, the weekend progress on Mr. Greenjeans.

I finished the body last night. It looks great, yet I'm hopefull that a good blocking will improve the fit. I went with the small size because a) I thought the model looked to be about my size and b) I'm trying to step away from making garments too large or too un-fitted. Also, there is a rather significant dye lot incident at work here, but I have only myself to blame. I knew there was a difference in the colors, but I went ahead anyway because I really wanted to use up the yarn in my stash rather than buy more. I hope it's not too glaring, but if it is, I may attempt a full sweater over-dye with some additional purple. The outcome is uncertain.

On to the dyeing. Remember, last week I bought Wilton Icing Dyes in Pink, Leaf Green, and Delphinium Blue. I thought it best to dye some samples prior to attempting to dye a complete sweater's worth of yarn. I decided to do 3 dye jobs using each of my 3 colors on two different yarns, to see how they look with no doctoring. First, I made 3 mini-skeins each of Patons Classic Merino Wool in Natural Mix and Winter White.

I soaked the skeins in some water with a dab of 2 in 1 shampoo/conditioner. While that soaked, I prepared my dye. I used two loaf pans and a plastic container. I filled them 1/2 full with tepid water. Then I dissolved 1/16 tsp. of each dye in 1 cup hot water, stirring to dissolve completely; then I poured that into the pan. Here's the green dye bath.

I added the rinsed yarn, one of each variety to each container. I let them soak for about 10 minutes, microwaved for 6 minutes at 2 minute intervals, then added a small glug of vinegar, making sure not to pour directly on my yarn. I lined up the pans on my stove and rotated them through the microwave at 2 minute intervals on high so each got a 4-5 minute rest between shots in the 'wave.

The pink exhausted the fastest. The Winter White sample is rather shockingly pink, though we must wait until it's dry to really see what it is. However the Natural Mix sample is a really nice darker rose tone that I think has some real possibilities!

The blue is looking stunning! The photos just don't do it justice. Both came out as shades of periwinkle blue with shots of purple running through them. The Natural Mix sample has a little more variation (naturally!), but both are amazing and exactly what I'd hoped for!

The green looked like it would be wonderful...but I wondered why the heck it wasn't taking up the dye. I nuked it within an inch of it's life, then decided to rinse. All my color ran down the drain and it was then I realized that indeed, I had forgotten to add the vinegar! Yes, vinegar really is needed for color-fastness, as I learned firsthand. That's what I was left with. I'm trying it again right now - with vinegar - and gee whiz, the color is soaking in! Fancy that!

I didn't actually keep track of how long it took me to get to the point of dye exhaustion. The pink was definitely the fastest. The blue took longer and never completely exhausted. The green...well you know about the green, but it's probably going to be much like the blue. Could be because those are stronger colors than the pink or perhaps I used a bit more than I needed. I think I was able to get a good representation of the colors though and now I can better judge what will be best for what project. The green is still stewing, but here's the pink and

Moral of the story...Kids, always use your vinegar!

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