Sunday, April 29, 2007

firecracker, watermelon and a big blue mess

How did I spend my Saturday? Not cleaning... no. Did I use the time to play with my kids? Well, a little.

No. I spent the majority of my day dyeing yarn. Not even knitting anymore - I'm totally obsessed with dyeing. I finally got my shipment of superwash wool from ebay and had to use those colors that were swirling around in my head.

Here's what I came up with...

This was a rather unsuccessful attempt at doing a variegated yarn in my crockpot. Apparently superwash wool really soaks up color so I didn't end up with a whole lot of blue on the lighter end of the spectrum. It was supposed to be a more gradual change between the white and the darkest blue.

I'd like to try this method again with some alterations. Maybe dying some pink and rose using two different dyes. We'll see...

Now this is a mistake that turned out well in the end. I had sugarplum dreams of a hot pink and lime green together - a watermelon colorway. When I mixed up the "pink" it was far more red than I was expecting! So instead of using lime green, I grabbed some blue Kool Aid and here's the end result.

These two hanks are going to be knitted up into some very special presents for some very special people, but that will have to remain a secret for now!

And here is the colorway that was dancing in my head. Behold the watermelon wool!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

it makes me think of pistachios...

Is it the green? I don't know, but every time I look at this yarn I get hungry.

I would have enjoyed this color combination more if the colors hadn't gotten muddy from over dyeing. Eh... I like it anyway.

Now I just have to wait patiently for my ebay shipment to arrive. I found 8 skeins of superwash wool for roughly $2.50 including S&H!

I already have color combinations running through my mind...

Now I really need a ball winder!

Monday, April 23, 2007


I have a fascination with retro color combinations and patterns. I bought some turquoise and brown acrylic to make an afghan square for a project and loved the combination. I decided to dye my last available skein in a similar pattern but with pink instead of blue.

I used the handpainting method I had used on my first skein - pink, light brown and dark brown. I loved the pink and dark brown but the light brown looked muddy even on the cling wrap. I wrapped it up, nuked it and let it steam. All seemed well as I hung it to dry outside.

I'm not sure if the colors didn't stick or if the sun bleached the yarn, but all the colors faded to some degree and the whole thing looks like a muddled mess.

Today I'll redye the whole skein but use the stovetop method that worked well last time. I think I'll go for more bold colors - hot pink, lime green (over the muddy light brown) and then reinsert the dark brown.

Hopefully this will work better!

I'll take pics of the finished project...

Friday, April 20, 2007

but the second one is so much sweeter...

Today's experiment came to me via The Dye Pot's beautiful Citrine Curry. As soon as I saw that colorway, I had to try to duplicate it.

Can you tell what's wrong with this picture? I bought the last three packages of easter egg dyes (on clearance - cha-ching!) and none of them contained an orange tablet. Instead I used a yellow in one container, a red in another and then 1/2 a red and 1/2 a yellow in the third. I threw in a little strawberry KoolAid and a few drops of food coloring (red or yellow, depending) just for good measure. I loved the colors in the jars!

I set it to boil and then backed it off a little. The color stuck very quickly but I was concerned about all the white. I was hoping the colors would wick up into the fibers a little more and cover some of the white with lighter shades. No such luck. So I rearranged the yarn a little - slipping it out of this jar and into that one - and so on.

I knew as soon as I saw this mess of yarn in my sink that I would adore this yarn! Now I just have to come up with a fitting project...

Decisions, decisions...

What will I do next??

and the first attempt is a bust, albeit a fun one...

On a recent episode of Knitty Gritty, I watched Jamie Dixon demonstrate a dyeing technique that seemed within reach for even a novice like myself. One little tag line at the end had me hooked. She mentioned using KoolAid instead of the toxic acid dyes she'd used.

I spent the next couple days reading everything I could (online, of course) on the subject and then made a run to the local discount grocery for some generic KoolAid. I grabbed my supplies, the only available cream colored skein I had and set to work.

My girls wanted in on the action, so they helped me paint the yarn with some KoolAid. It was a lot of fun to squish the liquid into the yarn and watch it soak right in! The girls all took turns, but I forgot to grab my camera until we were nearly finished.

The green and blue came out beautifully on the freshly painted skein. The third color was supposed to be a deep royal blue but I couldn't get that color with KoolAid so it ended up being a muddy purple mess.

I wrapped the yarn up in the cling wrap and steamed it in the microwave until the water was clear. Rinsed it, hung it to dry and them attempted (key word) to wind it into a hank.

As it turns out, the skein I happened to have laying around was a wool blend with a very high acrylic content. The colors which were so beautiful and vibrant on the table ended up very muted and bland on the finished hank.

It's still a pretty colorway, but it seems very generic and boring to me. I think I'll have to recreate the experiment with a 100% wool next time.

So my first attempt at dyeing wasn't too successful. But it was a lot of fun...

...this could get dangerous!

popping the cherry

I'm entering the world of blogging a bit more timidly than I normally attack a new venture. It feels like a vast new world and I'm just standing on the edge hoping I don't get lost.

My mom taught me to crochet when I was a child, but I never really enjoyed it the way she did. I always, always, wanted to knit. At 31 years old, I decided it was time to teach myself. I've completed a few projects - mostly gifts - but have many more in progress.

I'm thoroughly addicted to reading knitting blogs and decided it was time I created one of my own. Besides, I think my friends and family are getting sick of listening to me go on and on about yarn and dye. It's time to put the subject where the subject belongs.

A recent episode of Knitty Gritty inspired me to try dyeing my own yarn. It was a semi-success. The one skein I had floating around that wasn't already a vivid color was a cream colored Lion Brand Wool Ease. Not enough wool to give me the vibrant Koolaid colors I was after, but something soft and rather generic. I'll be trying a new color today - can't wait!