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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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on your dyeing adventures. The yarn looks great. Looking forward to seeing what you make with it.

5:28 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Thank you both for your comments, and thank you, Dave, for egging me on to more! (As if... ;)

As it happens, my niece, who has been knitting and dyeing more years than I have, hasn't knit in quite some time, overwhelmed with her family's move from Missouri back to California, teaching in a new school, getting her California certifications (despite the fact that kids in MO schools do better on the tests than CA kids, but we won't go there). Anyway, I thought I'd dye something up for her, the colors based on the colors of the paperback version of a book we both really like (The Jew in the Lotus), which she said she particularly liked. (She's already read this blog entry, so as long as none of you tell her, this will be a surprise.) Her birthday is in April, so I'd better get moving!

Next, our knitting guild is going to have a Sock Symposium one evening in May, so I thought I'd dye a skein of sock yarn to donate to the evening's raffle.

As if, y'know, I need an excuse to dye.

7:08 PM  
Blogger littledevilworks said...

Very pretty and very brave. I'm still stuck on trying Koolaid. :)

4:45 PM  
Blogger mattw said...

Hi Mellisa, sorry to bother you on a "non Ig" site. But I have one quick question if you don't mind. Is it possible for a young (roughly 6 mos) green ig to hurt themselves by over eating? On the one hand I'm glad it has such a healthy appetite, but on the other, I'm worried that it may not know when too much is too much. Am feeding it a variety of foods off the Green Ig Society chart, can't find info anywhere on HOW MUCH is appropriate. Is this something I should even concern myself with or leave to my ig to know what is enough? Thanks and sorry to bother you on your yarn blog.
p.s. your finished product on this post is pretty cool!

6:22 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Matt, you cannot overfeed an iguana who is being fed the correct diet. Igs stock upon energy (build up their fat pads) for those times that they don't eat as much or at all: when they get ready to shed, during breeding season, and during our winters, which coincide with the dry season in the wild, during which plants die back and so reduces the amount available for herbivores.

3:40 PM  

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