January 27, 2005

Adventures in Dyeing

I did something new today! For me, that is. Last night at the SnB Jane, one of the regulars, was kind enough to give me a whole whack of yarn — some Kroy 3-ply sock yarn (the older version of their 4ply Kroy Socks) and some lovely heathery pink Alafoss Lopi. I’ll show you the Lopi a little later, when I’ve decided what I want to do with it. Today’s story is about the sock yarn. There are 5 balls of it, and they’re light yellow. Not particularly my most favourite sock colour! Jane had originally intended to make baby clothes from it, and then had come to her senses and realised there was no need to use fingering weight yarn for such things! But, as she said, it would no doubt dye easily enough, since it’s a very light colour.

I’ve never dyed any yarn before, but this seemed the perfect opportunity to try it! So, because I’m impatient, I decided to go ahead and try dyeing two balls of the yarn with what I had on hand — food colouring. I read a little about the process, but then went ahead and ignored most of it. But it was fun!

Here’s what the yarn looked like soaking in some clear water, just to get it wet:


You can see that I’m already doing it wrong — the yarn should be in skeins, not balls, it’ll never absorb the dye evenly. I know this, but do I care? Nah.

I made up a dye solution with all the blue food colouring I had, and dunked the balls in it:


I hadn’t really believed that stuff about the dye being “exhausted” and the water going clear — but my, yes, it does. Especially when you clearly don’t have enough dye for the amount of yarn!

Here’s the ball that resulted from that first dip:


The inside of the ball was, predictably, still pretty yellow. So I skeined the balls (while wet. Yes, I know that wasn’t proper either. Too bad!), which then looked like this. There were definitely too many patches of yellow, though it was looking pretty cool. But I had no blue dye left. No problem, I just emptied the little bottle of red food colouring into my solution, and dunked the skeins in. Again the dye was immediately exhausted, so only one side of each skein actually got any red on it — resulting in this:


I think they look pretty great! I have no idea how they’ll knit up, but it doesn’t much matter — these are definitely for me, and I’ll love them no matter what. I made variegated yarn! How cool is that?

Now I just have to restrain myself from starting the socks… at least until I finish my shawl. Three projects at once is straining my limits — four would cause a breakdown. But soon!

Thanks again, Jane — I can’t wait to do something with the other three skeins, now. But I’ll have to get more dye!

Posted by Aven at January 27, 2005 02:54 PM

oh my gosh, those look SO GOOD!

Posted by: laura at January 27, 2005 04:32 PM

Wow, my goodness, those look professional. Wanna sell a skein to me?? :)

Posted by: Dani at January 27, 2005 06:51 PM

Wow, that definintely takes the intimidation factor out of dying yarn for me. What a brave pioneer you are! They look beautiful. I’ll be interested to see how they knit up. :)

Posted by: missbedora at January 27, 2005 10:41 PM

Happy Bloggyversary! The account of your experiment was fun!

Posted by: Maria at January 28, 2005 09:31 AM

Happy bloggiversarry! Good job on dying the yarn—I’ve also heard that you can use unsweetened Kool-aid as a dye, but I haven’t gotten to dying yet….

Posted by: Cathy at January 28, 2005 09:48 AM

Happy Blogaversary! I know I’m a little late. The dye job looks great. My favourite colours! At first I thought ..just with food colouring ! but then I realised koolaid is mostly food colouring too…kinda gross when you consider how much of it is consumed by kids.

Posted by: Elizabeth at January 31, 2005 10:13 AM