Our Colorado family visited us at the end of June. It had been 944 days since we saw them in person. That’s just too long.
Besides going on a hike to Blackwater Falls, visiting Geroge Washington’s headquarters, eating ice cream, having a picnic, painting rocks, celebrating our wedding anniversaries (Daughter and S-I-L 15 years, Mr. Atich and myself 48 years!), and rock painting, we also dyed yarn!
Using the Crockpot method, we dyed six skeins (100 grams each) of fingering weight yarn in total, the most I’ve ever done at one time. [I did purchase a small microwave (specifically for dyeing/setting the dyes) the morning we dyed but didn’t have time to get it unpacked and ready to use.] For the most part, we used food coloring and Easter egg dyes but I did use some Jacquard dyes in Brillant Blue and Jet Black to add colors. I’m getting low on the Easter egg dyes.
The Karate Kid chose greens and blues.
The Princess chose red and purple. I didn’t add enough white vinegar to the water so as soon as the purple dye hit the wet yarn, it broke into pink and blue. She loved it so we continued.
The Artist wanted reds, oranges, and yellows. The red wasn’t as intense as we thought as a lot of it washed out.
She also used some leftover red and black and a mixture of those for a black cherry hue for this skein.
My daughter used red, blue, and purple with a few spots of lime green.
Lastly, the Karate Kid and I dribbled all of the leftover dyes down the sides of the Crockpot and just let it sit in hot water until all the dye was absorbed.
The final group all in a row.
Each will get at least one pair of socks. That’s a lot of knitting time for me!
I do have a question for any dyers out there: How much dye do you use in what amount of water to make your dye stock? I think I use too much dye and/or too little water as I’m seeing too much color go down the drain while rinsing.
I’m going to show you two of the other skeins of yarn I dyed last year.
This one is called Blueberry Smoothie. I used food coloring and Paas Easter Egg dyes. Kid (and adult) friendly and as far as I know, colorfast.
I love the blues and touch of purple.
There are a lot of light blues and undyed yarn. Nothing planned for this skein…yet.
The second dyed yarn is a red tonal, also using food coloring and Paas Easter Egg dyes.
I already knit a pair of socks and didn’t get any pictures of the skein beforehand. This is what I have left over.
The sock pattern is from Helen Stewart’s Handmade Sock Society: Scribbly Gum Socks. Once knitted up, the yarn appears as a tonal stripe that is only noticeable on the plain stockinette stitch on the back.
I dipped a plastic fork into some black liquid food coloring and touched various areas of the yarn to give add that speckled look. It’s not as pronounced as I wanted.
I’m still experimenting with dyeing my own yarns and once the weather warms up (again), I’ll try some other dyeing techniques.
This post is picture heavy. It might take some time to load.
I decided to rip out that sock and redye the yarn. It was one of three 100 gram-skeins/hanks of yarn that I dyed in the crock-pot last year (and never blogged about). The other two turned out great and I’ve knitted one already into a pair of socks.
I was cleaning out parts of the basement last summer and lo and behold I found packets of dye! Sunshine Crafts Batik dyes. Let’s just say I acquired these a long, long, long time ago in a place far away. Along with my fantastic find, I also bought some professional Jacquard dyes in some basic colors.
This is my first foray into using dyes other than food coloring and Easter egg dye and it was a great experience. In the future, I will reread the ratios of dye to water. I just winged it when I mixed the dye and the two colors were VERY concentrated giving deep, intense hues.
My original plan was to use Azure blue and Brilliant blue. I swapped out Jet back for the Brilliant blue as the Azure was blue enough.
It was warm enough last week to set my amateurish dye station on the picnic table outside. Mr. Aitch does not like the smell of wet wool and vinegar so all my dyeing is now done either in the garage or outside. And no microwave dyeing either.
I soaked the yarn in a water/vinegar solution overnight. In the morning I twisted the yarn so I would retain some of the lime green colors and the blues and black would blend together into a navy blue with some teal areas.
Then I placed it in my cold crock-pot with enough water and a slog of vinegar to cover. The acid in the vinegar helps the fiber to absorb the dye. It took over two hours for the water to get hot enough before I could add any dye!
Once everything was ready I loaded up syringes with the blue and black dyes and squirted it into the twisted skein. The dye struck almost instantly as I probably had too much vinegar in the dye mixture.
I played with adding dye in various places for about an hour. Mr. Aitch helped photograph with yarn when I checked it before untwisting it. Too much lime green was still visible so I kept squirting dye onto those areas.
The yarn sat in the dye bath until the water was clear. Then the impatient me had to wait until the yarn was cool enough to rinse. Because the dye was so concentrated, it took a long time to rinse out the extra dye…(no showers for me for at least a week! Just kidding)
The finished product.
Even though it’s not what I planned, I still love it.
The colors are so rich and varied.
Socks for sure! It takes about 65-75 grams of yarn for a pair of knit socks. I will have some leftover to use as an accent toe/heel, add with another yarn for striped socks, or the slipped stitch socks I love to knit.