December 15, 2017

The Dye Pot

What?!  How can I possibly talk with you about dyeing yarn when I've been dye petrified since the beginning of wool time?

Some time ago, I made the Awakening Cowl by my friend Amy Lamash..  The colors I chose to make it in required some red yarn of which I had none.  So the ladies of the VKN convinced me (for darn near 30 minutes) to just grab three yards of yarn and some red dye and do it.  So I did.  It turned out that I did not die from heavy metal poisoning, the jar with the dye did not explode and spray all over the house and I ultimately ended up with enough red yarn to make the cowl. I was so pleased with myself, but the recovery period was very long.

After watching many videos of "real" dyers plying their trade, which is all still a mystery to me, I decided that it just couldn't be that hard - or dangerous - to dye yarn.  So I found some very old stash of white yarn, in this case it was Knit Picks Peruvian Highland fingering, not superwash, which is the same thing as Palette yarn.

It's a 2-ply yarn, very loosely plied and I'm sure it's about 10 years old.  Since I had no plans to use it for any knit projects, I decided that it would be safe to dye it, and if the jar exploded and I ended up dyeing my whole house, well, so be it.

I did what all the videos said to do and buh-bang!  I got dyed yarn:

Nobody died, the yarn was not what I expected, and I didn't want it anyway - so I won all the way around.  I gave that skein away to the first person to send me their address and it's long gone now.  But what I got was courage.

I found another partial skein of Knit Picks Chroma worsted and dyed it also.  It looks just like the first skein, but with a lot  more yellow.  I was not pleased with the color, but the process  turned the lights on in my head about what I wanted and how to get it.

Then I found some white Aslan Trends 100% alpaca that had been stained by black yarn.  I thought it was just ruined and it ended up at the bottom of the stash bin.  But with my new found courage, I dug it out.

I ended up dyeing it with light blue, then I sprinkled some navy blue and some green on it, put it in the pot and crossed my fingers:

 When I pulled it out of the pot, I was (again) not impressed with the colors:

Until it dried, and then I was in absolute heaven:

I wish I had used more green, but there are speckles and blue and turquoise and it just tickled me pink!  I'm going to make something with this skein, oh yes I am!  Don't know what yet, but it'll come to me.

Now with my new found courage, I'm going to have some yarn dyeing misadventures/experiments.  My inner 'mad scientist' has awakened.  I have since purchased natural dyes, in addition to the acid dyes I already have, and I'm soaking some black walnut husks right now.  You know, go big or go home, right?

Next post will be about knitting.  Until then, happy knitting and dyeing to you!