Sunday, September 30, 2007

In my time of dyeing

I did my first dye job today! Well, on yarn, anyway. This was my September project for the Do Something New knitalong (clickable button is in the right-hand sidebar).
Originally, I picked this project for the following very practical reasons: 1) I already had the stuff because I planned to do this three years ago and didn't, and 2) I knew it was going to be a really hectic month and I might not have time to finish a knitted item. As it turned out, I wouldn't have. Pretty much all the time I have found for knitting has gone into the Professional Project, and in the meantime I've been working and going on job interviews, which is just draining.
However, it ended up being really fun and I know I'm going to do it again soon. I may or may not have gotten the bug; we'll see.
I dyed some white baby alpaca yarn that I had frogged from my first attempt at a hat not too long after I taught myself to knit. I didn't do a gauge swatch, so the hat ended up big enough for two people to wear at once. Anyway, it was my first good yarn that I bought at a yarn store (as opposed to a craft store or a fabric store) so I hung onto it. I also wanted to dye a bit of this Morehouse Merino lace--

I got this as a shawl kit in one of the hand-dyed colorways, and boy was it ever a disappointment. In the picture of this colorway that is used both on the website and on the pattern, the colors are much, much brighter and there is a lot more pink in relation to the other colors. This looks really washed out and dull, like it was soaked in dirty water and then shoved in a dusty attic for a dozen years. It doesn't look any better knit up. I thought that it might be usable if I overdyed it a dark color, as the merino wool itself is very good (and I don't want to just throw out a $50 hank of yarn).
Here's the alpaca and the bit of merino lace on the scale...

The Kool Aid guy looks really happy knowing that he is going into a hot tub with a bunch of Alpaca, doesn't he?

...and here it is presoaking. I wouldn't normally use a $30 Mason Cash mixing bowl, which I guard with my life, to soak yarn but it was the only bowl I had that was big enough. Doesn't it look pretty?

Here's the yarn cooking on the stove, next to my curly fries (blush) and Quorn nuggets. (Do you think that eating the fake meat might offset the fried potatoes?) I wouldn't have believed it when I started, but that sucked up the dye like crazy, and quick, and the water really did end up clear! It was cool.

This is what the water looked like after only about 10 minutes on the stove-- almost all the dye is gone.

Purple spaghetti! The water was totally clear by this time--the yarn caught every little bit of the dye. The merino came out quite a bit darker than the alpaca, but that was to be expected; it was already dyed. Also, I was pleased how much of the dye the alpaca trapped given that I started with white (which was not necessarily natural white-- but I didn't keep the labels so I don't know.)

And here they are-- the finished hanks. Pretty maids all in a row.
I have a feeling that this yarn will become gloves, but I'm not sure.
The lace still shows different colors through the overdye, but it might look OK-- I'm going to reserve judgment until I have a chance to swatch it.


Knit and fall back in it said...

Looks very pretty. Koolaid is so much fun, you can also use it as pigment for paint. I love the stuff, so many uses. I am not so sure that I would drink it, though.

Kristina B said...

The yarn looks good enough to drink! (having just bought some purple Gatorade this morning... hmm).

CraftyGryphon said...

The yarn is lovely... but where did you find the WINX glass? (I have a very young niece with a birthday at the end of the month, and she is *so* into WINX...)

I hope to be up to dyeing by the end of winter; I got some lovely "blank" yarn for my birthday in March. I have so many other things I have to finish first, darn it!

Ilix said...

yay a new dyer! congrats! Wilton Cake Dye is pretty good too, you need to add vinegar to have it set well in the pot though.... just put it in with the water. Have fun!

Cupcake said...

The yarn looks wonderful and you are so brave to do it. I haven't tried dying yet because there is a part of me that thinks if I start it will be all I want to do.

Stitch-ay Woman said...

I got the Winx glass with Nutella. They were evidently packaging Nutella in Winx glasses at some point in Italy. Anyway, I got it at a specialty foods store here in Seattle.