Monday, March 19, 2007

Yesterday was a good day to dye

My apologies to Worf and the entire Klingon nation, but apparently yesterday (last night, to be exact) was a good day to dye, because I did!

I've had several skeins of KnitPick's Bare yarns on hand for months, along with a dozen jars or so of Jacquard acid dye. I've been reading various blogs and articles on how to do it, but haven't felt up to the whole experience (clearing off enough counter space, gathering all the stuff together, working up the solutions--heck, deciding which colors to use!--and getting a skein re-hanked into a much longer hank.

The hanking I did several nights ago - set up a couple of chairs 7 ft apart and wound and wound and wound.

Last night I was restless for some reason, fidgety and not into knitting or reading. So, of course, what do I do? Dye!


I used 1/2 teaspoon of the dye powders (Turquoise, Pink, and Lilac), each in 8 oz of water, with 6.5 cc of vinegar each. Well, and George's Aloe Vera Juice, whose gallon jug looks a lot like the gallon jug of vinegar. ::sigh:: Since vinegar is the acid that makes the dye penetrate into the yarn and set, thank whatever goddesses there are that I realized my oops before I started applying the solution to the yarn!

Here's the yarn right after I applied the colors:

Here it is wrapped in heavy-duty plastic wrap prior to microwaving it (the dye requires heat to set):

Here it is in the microwave (3 minutes on, 2 minutes off, repeated 5 times):

A lot of the turquoise fell out of the yarn and got into the pink, which helped tone down the freakish pinkishness of the pink. Here it is after rinsing:

...and hanging up in the iguana room drying over night:

...and wound into a hank tonight:

Excuse me while I go drool over the sink instead of my keyboard.

Some of the articles I read in preparation for dyeing:

Dye Fingerprint (

Real Dye Adventures (Dave Daniels)

Jacquard Acid Dyes

I bought most of the dye-dedicated kitchen stuff (bowls, strainers, measuring cup, tongs, wooden spoon, condiment squeeze bottles) at Cash & Carry, a relatively inexpensive restaurant supply house owned by the Smart & Final company, and threw in a large plastic mixing bowl, measuring spoons, and Pyrex baking dish from my existing kitchen stuff, and a 3cc syringe from my rehabbing days. The left-over solution I'm storing in some Ball glass canning jars. I raided my CERT go bag for the mask (must be worn when working with the powders themselves), disposable gloves, plastic trash bags, and masking tape. If you're looking for metal bowls and pots to do stove-top vat dyeing, be sure to check restaurant suppliers' used section as well as thrift stores and dollar stores (Big Lots, Dollar Tree, etc.).

And now that I've exhausted myself by dyeing, I think I'll go to bed and dream of other colorways...

Update: For some reason, I kept my yarn aside, and worked on several community knitting projects (blanket squares for Sonoma Blanket Project, a preemie blanket and cap for the guild's new Hospital Stash, and a couple of Socks for Soldiers). One friend suggested I save the yarn for posterity, but I finally decided one night to dive in. I pulled a just-started third SFS sock off the needles, and cast on my yarn. The 12-14" stretches of color are apparently going to create a spiral pattern (my least favorite, as it happens), as evidenced by the first 4 inches or so - here's what the 'front' and 'back' look like:

The colors, though, are still darned yummy!

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Toolin' Around The Tules

Tulelake, that is. Northeastern Siskiyou County is the land of big sky and big clouds, as can be seen of this shot over Tule sump (part of the Tulelake National Wildlife Refuge):

Karen, Jim, Sidney (AKA, goddoggie) and I went back up to Tulelake CA. We went last year in April, after the eagles had flown back north, at a time when there was a relatively sparse mix of laggard arctic birds and not quite time for the southern and sea birds to come up for breeding.

As I started resizing, cropping and compressing the photos from this 2007 trip, I realized that I hadn't finished doing the same on all the photos from last year's trip! Since I have about 500 more to go through, I thought I'd give you a preview, photos taken on the way up to Tulelake in 2006, on Interstate 5 and Highway 97. If you are like most people and have no clue where Tulelake (sometimes spelled Tule Lake, though I am not clear on the rules) is, here's a Google Map link, so you can check out the satellite views, too.

Tulelake Sunrise, February 17, 2007

Tulelake Sunset, same day

I have a photo album with some of the photos from the February 2007 trip. I will work on getting the rest of these, at least, processed before our trip there next year. Really! I will!

Actually, we have to go back. Last year, I taught Karen to knit on the drive up there and while we were there. This year, we got Fe Galeoto (of Fe's Bed & Breakfast) started knitting, so we have to go back and see how she's doing.

If you're going to be heading up to the area to take in the birds and Lava Beds, the place to stay if you going stay in the area is Fe's B&B. If you're going to be there for several days, or there's a small group of you, rent the vacation house: three bedrooms, two baths, kitchen and dining area (and piano, TV and VCR), and it's dog-friendly - just ask Sidney!).

Sidney hogging my side of the 'knitting' couch

Sidney in 2006, enjoying a walk in the Tule sump area, while the photographer shoots Sidney's tush.