a preponderance of punctuation marks (reedrover) wrote,
a preponderance of punctuation marks

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Yarn dying experiment #1 - in progress

I have been wanting to try dyeing my own yarn for a long time. I've had yarn and dye in various forms for over two years now.

This morning I woke up with determination. I decided if I didn't start, I would never finish. (Duh.) So this morning while doing all the rest of my morning routine, I pulled out the ancient, bought-on-clearance easter egg dyes and started into a dye experiment.

The yarn is a grand conglomeration of everything white from my storage unit except for angora or cashmere. It is less-than-affectionately called "storage unit yarn." It's got alpaca, cormo, mohair, llama, and probably merino in it. What this means is that I do not expect the dye to take up evenly throughout either the ball or through the fibers in any specific place.

I rolled two balls of yarn about -this- big. I didn't weigh the balls. I dumped them one at a time in a half-filled bowl of white vinegar, then squeezed the vinegar out with my hands. (Note mistake 1 - bare hands in vinegar.) I did make sure that the entire ball was wet, but I didn't fill the bowl to dunking levels, so there may be some differences in how much vinegar went into/onto each ball. No big deal.

In my square casserole pan, I put in about an inch of water. I microwaved the water for about 3 minutes to heat it up, and then pulled it out and put it on the stove top. I stirred in four tablets of dye - two "denim" and two "teal" - until they were completely dissolved. For whatever record you may keep, this is PAAS easter egg dye that is over a year old but was dry-packaged in an airtight plastic pack.

I then placed the two balls of yarn into the dyed water in the casserole dish and put the dish back in the microwave for 20 minutes at high power. (Note mistake 2 - vinegar covered hands in accidental contact with blue-dyed water.) By the time I closed the microwave door, my left hand was dyed a very pretty sky blue.

Fortunately for my timing, my next act was to go take a shower. Washing my hair incidentally removed most of the blue dye from my left hand. My nails are still slightly tinted, but it's not like I sprayed Blue-Kote on them now. Note to self: we have a box of latex gloves in the main bathroom.

The yarn had not taken up either the dye or the water completely after 20 minutes, though there was much less of either than when I started. ::shrug:: The side of the yarn that was in the water was a heavy teal-tinted green. The side out of the water was still white. - Both the color and the white were the expected results.

I'm impatient, so (using potholders) I took the casserole dish over next to the sink.

Because I was using the same casserole for all of the dyeing, I had to get the yarn out of the dish to clean the dish. To do so, I put a black (plastic?) coated cooling rack in the sink. (I chose this one over the uncoated because of vinegar tarnishing stainless metals.) I used snapper grabbers to pick up each ball of yarn and place it colored-side down on the cooling rack to drip into the sink while I contemplated the next move.

I carefully cleaned the teal water out of the casserole dish and the colored ring around the edge. (The "carefully" was to avoid pouring any water on the two balls of yarn already in the sink.) I then filled the casserole with about 2 inches of water (deeper this time) and put it in the microwave for three minutes. Once the water was hot, I took the pan out of the microwave and put it on the stove top. I put two tablets of red and two tablets of purple into the water and stirred until it all dissolved (or, really, until I couldn't see the tablets in the dark dyed water).

Then I moved the casserole pan back over to just next to the sink. Using latex gloves as well as snapper-grabbers, I gently squeezed the half-dyed balls of yarn over the sink, inverted them, and placed them white-side-down in the DARK! purple water in the casserole dish. The dish went - carefully! - back into the microwave for another 20 minutes.

Oops, I was out of time. I hit cancel at 11 minutes. I grabbed potholders and took the casserole out of the microwave to check on progress. The balls of yarn were a deep cranberry red on the bottom halves. Lovely. [Ok, I really needed to leave for work now.]

I figured that there was no harm in leaving the yarn in the dyed water all day, but that there would be a lot of harm if I didn't put the dish back into the microwave. The ideas of what four cats could do with a gallon of red dye were amusing but not enticing.

I will hopefully remember to report back with photos once the yarn is finished. The only real downside is that the house REEKS of vinegar.
Tags: dye, yarn

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