Sunday, April 01, 2007

I dyed and went to heaven,

Fish count is still the same, but more fish next week.... and there are a growing number of fish knit bloggers. The BK incident seemed to strike a chord with other parents, and I have had so many nice comments on the reworked blue cabled cardie. I also had a heads up that part of my blog set up made for a loooong slooow wait for images to load, so have changed some settings and hope to go back to some of the earlier posts in the next few month to make them 'faster'. Bear with me while i learn how to do this better please.

Sometimes it takes a while to get around to the things that interest a body. Dying for example, around two years ago I noticed a topic section on Knitters review forum on using Kool-Aid to dye yarn, I was intrigued and had a quick browse or 'lurk' but didn't take any action. After that I learned about sock knitting, discovered EZ, knitting in the round, wooden knitting needles, fine knitting technique books, using my credit card to buy knitting supplies like sock yarn and Addi turbos on line. I worked my way from knitting English to combination to various forms of continental. I was busy, and lots was learned.

Some time in the last month two things happened, I started to get yarn envy, the green eyed feeling when I saw the fabulous yarn seemingly available to my international knit companions. Every trip to my LYS seemed seemed to end in disappointment, the fine yarns I coveted to knit on the small needles I prefer came in a very limited range of 'baby colours'. My sons Montessori teacher approached me about her students finding resources to weave, knit, or stitch. The school holidays loom, and I have taken a week off to be an at home parent, we will watch tv, bake, play at the park, visit grandad, but I wanted to find a project. I remembered Kool-aid dyes.

So a little on line research, and I found knitty articles by Julie Theaker and Kristi Porter. I loved the idea of painting the yarn, and found out that as well as boiling, crock pot cooking, steaming and baking, you can microwave yarn. I used a 50 g ball of Pattons baby yarn, skeined up, tied with cotton, and soaked , for two nights (it was to be overnight - but life is busy) in 3/4 cup white vinegar and warm water. I mixed up 4 squeezy bottles of strong dye, rose pink (powder), blue, reddish yellow, and purple. I squeezed out the soaked skein, laid the table with two old towels, made my circle of plastic wrap, donned glubs. In our house all our children seem to have difficulty with saying gloves, so here such are known as glubs.

I squirted, I massaged, I transferred to soggy pile to a casserole, and zapped it on high for 2 mins, it was luke warm. I zapped for another 2 minutes. I considered the steam and boil and bake methods, they all cooked the yarn for 40 minutes ... so I zapped for 5 minutes on med high. The plastic went a bit crunchy - but the yarn was steaming.

I rinsed the yarn in warm water, until the water ran clear, which was almost immediately. I wrapped the skein in a towel and stomped it. The skein hung up in a warm spot to dry and was wound off into a ball. The yarn is brilliantly intensely coloured, rich, dark, strong, which I just can not capture on camera, I have tried to deepen the colours using photo shop, but they are still not as deep as in real life.

How did the colours go? Well the rose is deep deep blue red, the purple is deep, the red yellow strong, and all of these are even. But the blue, its mottly, not in a bad way but not an even take up of dye. It ranges from light blue, to teal, to olive, to green, to deeper blue. I have sinced learned that blues are difficult, and wondered if my vinegar load was to much? But it is attractive, and I am tempted to dye just using blue and see if the uptake is as varried.

So what to knit with my fab new yarn? I needed a project that would take less than 50g's . I decided on mittens for the smallest member of the household. The yarns ball band called for 3.25 mm, but I know I like a firmer gauge than most patterns and yarns recommend, so pulled out 2.5 mm's. I pulled out Anna Zilboorgs Magnificent Mittens from the book case stash. I'v had this book for ages, and regularly take it to bed to read before sleeping, but have not attempted any yet. I used the cast on method, and followed instructions. As for size, I drew around Poppy's paw/hand and knit to shape/width as I went. I put in a row of temporary knitting where the thumb should be, and knitted to a length below her wrist. I freed up the stitches where the thumb should be, picked them up, and knit the thumb. Two decrease rows and grafted 6 stitches across the top.

I am a little worried about the limited yarn I have, so have stopped mitten one before the wrist cuff, and knit up mitten two, I divided the remaining yarn into two equal length balls, and will knit the ribing until I run out. The wrist rib is on 2mm needles, and K2P2. Next post I will publish details, guage, and size, 'cos at the moment I don't know that info, this is a knit and fit as you go project.


OfTroy said...

Its great fun isn't it?

1pre soaking in acidulated water make for great dye uptake (and dark vivid colors)

2-what you see in bottle isn't always what appears on yarn!

3 some colors 'seperate' (a blue that is made from greens and yellows and blues, can 'seperate' and give you yarn that is blue, (several shades) plus green, plus yellow)

4they won't do this consistantly!
so 'repeating' is hard--you understand dye lots a lot better when you begin to dye.

but it's all worth it when you end up with to dye for colors!
great work--

Kimberly said...

Beautiful colors. The stiping of the mittens looks really good.

Anna-Liza said...

Hey there,
I just did an afternoon workshop on Kool-Aid dying, and my colors weren't as intense as yours. I'm going to try the acidulated water bath, overnight, the next time I try this. We had limited time for soaking at the workshop!

I found your blog through a comment you posted at Knitter's Review ... I just loved the name! I am new to blogging myself--my friend and I just started one together (thinking we're more likely to keep it up to date this way). She's a quilter, but I plan to teach her to knit when I go visit later this month.

I have been really enjoying the knitblogiverse! I am, myself, living in Colorado in the U.S. It's so fun to connect with knitters all over the world!

Tanya said...

Love it!

I did some microwave kool aid dying in the past and it did not turn out as well as yours, it was pretty blah. But it is still light enough to overdye so one day.... It is in the plans to do some more dying. Bring these on Wednesday too and the your new cardy, please, please, please! Dying to see the cardy, can I try it on too, please? It is so cool.