Monday, February 4, 2008

What I did last Friday...

What’s for dinner, honey? Oh, just some nice purple yarn, dear!

Yes, as Mr. T would say – I’m cooking more yarn.

The Great Sweater’s Worth of Hand-dyed Yarn Experiment took place today in my kitchen. The canning pot came out of basement hibernation (only had one dead spider in it!) and the lovingly handcrafted PVC niddy noddy was put to work immediately. Six balls of Patons Classic Wool in Natural Mix were wound into skeins last night and one more ball this morning. I decided that I might want to make Cardigan for Arwen and if that actually happened, I would need that one more ball.

First, the yarn soaked in my kitchen sink. That was the only vessel large enough for that much yarn.

Then I prepared my dye. I used Pieknits directions for dyeing with Wilton Icing Dyes. I used about 3.5 tsp. of dye based on my 24.5 oz. of yarn. I ended up using all that was left in the bottle. The canning pot is large enough for all the yarn, though it takes a little wrangling to stir it around sufficiently. I tried to stir it often to ensure even color distribution.

I added the vinegar after 10 minutes of simmering (this means lots of steam but NO bubbles!). I was a little uneasy with only one glug of vinegar, so I added 3. Probably about ¾ cup in all. It won’t hurt anything.

The next direction was to let it simmer for 30 minutes until the dye has exhausted. After 10 minutes there wasn’t much change. I stirred thoroughly (I think) every 5 minutes. This color is very interesting. As it cooked, the yarn itself looked more purple, while the water looked blue. After the full 30 minutes though, the color was still pretty strong in the water.

I kept it going for some time further - close to another 30 minutes. The dye still had not completely exhausted, but by this time I was ready to say good enough. By the time the yarn was cool and ready to rinse, it had indeed exhausted all the dye. Yay!

Back to the sink for more rinsing. After two days of drying, here's what I ended up with:

One skein is considerably more purple than the others, but overall, I think they are similar enough to be used in a project together and have it turn out well. Cardigan for Arwen might not be the best choice after all, what with all that stockinette. Oblique would have been perfect, had I been patient, but that's never been my strong suit. There's a cabled cardigan in the Winter Vogue that might just be good - we'll see.
When I look at these pictures, the only thing I have to say is...I gotta get me a swift!


Ashley said...

Your yarn looks amazing! The only time I dyed with food coloring, it was red and I had to rinse and rinse, and rinse some more to get it all rinsed out! Keep up the great work!

Jen said...

I'd really like to try the Wiltons Maroon. I bought a pile of Patons in Natural Marl so I'm itching to see how the two tones dye up. I think I have a little addiction starting!