Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Why aren't you Knitting Nanners or Hey, you're up, why aren't you dyeing some yarn?

The original post was written on January 31. I edited and added pictures after I was finished with the yarn on Feb. 24)
This post could also be called: "When you start drinking coffee at 5:00 am, you will need a second pot by nine." But I digress.

For reason I cannot comprehend (but that make me REALLY angry) I woke up at 4:00 am this morning. I thought I would get up for a bit and go back to sleep. At five I gave up and made a pot of coffee. This meant that I could make breakfast for hubby before I sent him off to work his little half-day. Which I did. I had planned to get up at 9 am, so I had a little list of things I wanted to do before we went to visit friends this afternoon, like planning what knitting projects to bring along, etc. Since I was up so early, I played on the computer for a bit. I balanced the checkbook, I basically did everything on my list before 9 am.

As a result, not wanting to get too tired out before leaving town, I decided to find something to do. Well, here this yarn was staring at me from my dining room table where I had wound it up into a nice hank. Hmm, I thought to myself (yes, I frequently have conversations with myself when I am home alone, why do you ask?) wasn't I going to do something with this? Oh yes, I remember. I was going to dye it up yellow with some Easter Egg dye I bought last year and use it to knit up some Nanner socks. (Since I now plurk I have been granted access to the fabled Nanner sock pattern) Tomorrow begins the Lime & Violet Sock Marathon 2009 and even though my plan is to knit 8 pairs of socks in the next 6 months and I have plans for at least that many pairs, I had this white yarn lying around that I bought expressly so I could try dyeing using Easter Egg Dye. I even prepared last year by buying 8 boxes of dye on clearance.

Technically, I have already tried the technique I planned to use and liked it but we'll talk about that another day. So, what did I do? First I put the two hanks of yarn into a bowl with some cold water and regular old White Distilled Vinegar. I let them soak for a good hour. Since I'm impatient and unlikely to wait, I set a timer and made myself walk away.

Next I prepared the dye in a large glass measuring cup. I just put in a splash of vinegar again and 4 yellow dye pellets. (I had already dyed some yarn and so I knew that making about 4 cups of dye water would be enough for the 100g of yarn I'm dyeing.)
Please note that I am using 100% food-safe ingredients or I would be using a bowl, spoon and measuring cup that I would NEVER use for food again. This is very important.

I carefully drained the yarn and then carefully (so I didn't splash) I poured the dye water over it.

See how pretty and yellow it is?

I next put the bowl in the microwave and made sure it was in the center. (My microwave has a turntable and if you don't center the bowl just right, it makes an awful racket as it turns, thump, thump, thump, because it's off-balance.)

I didn't want the water to boil at all so I microwaved it for 5 minutes then checked it. Since I didn't care if it was somewhat mottled when it was finished (as a matter of fact, I kind of wanted that to happen) I didn't stir it AT ALL but I had a non-reactive (read: plastic) spoon nearby and ready just in case.

After the five minutes I open the door to the microwave and let it cool slightly (so it won't boil) but you want it to stay hot. Then I put it in for another two minutes. I continue this until the dye "exhausts" (Please note here that none of this is from any research I have done on my own or from my own knowledge. It's a kind of glommed together whack of knowledge I've gotten from reading blogs. But it's been a fun experiment.)

The water will basically look clear at this point?

Now carefully take the bowl out of the microwave. Being careful not to spill it and dump the yarn into the sink. The dye water will drain away. Leave the yarn to cool for at least 15 minutes. Again, I set a timer because I am VERY impatient.

Then rinse well in cold water.
(Please ignore the brown sink. It came with the apartment but if I could I would change it to Stainless Steel. I have always had a stainless steel sink and now miss it.)
Now, you will want to get as much moisture out as you can. It helps if you wrap it in a towel (preferrably one that's darker than the dyed yarn or one you don't care about, just in case the dye bleeds although the vinegar should prevent that) and squeeze it out. Some people like to step on it to squeeze out water.

Now hang it up to dry.

Mmmm, nanners.

Now, do you think I have time for one more cup of coffee before hubby gets home?

After the original post was written, I decided the yarn had too much of a color change. Very bright yellow and too much white. I wanted some mottling but it was too much. I therefore waited to post until I had finally redyed and was ready to start knitting. (I simply made a softer yellow dye and repeated the process to get rid of some of the garish white.) That would be yesterday. Looks much better doesn't it? And here we have the Nanners. Started up.

These would have been bigger except I made a couple mistakes and had to rip back. All the way to the cuff. I also sort of modified the pattern. (It's a sickness) I am doing them top-down instead of toe-up and I made a picot edge instead of normal ribbing. I think they are quite bright and still GORGEOUS. I love them.

1 comment:

Kasha's Knits said...

Awesome! Was that your first time dyeing anything? I think you got too much white the first time because you had it wound into a hank in the dyebath. Next time try just tying some white yarn or thread very loosely around it to secure the strands and then you won't get the resist effect that gave you the white.

We should probably have a yarn dyeing party at my place sometime. You'll become hooked =) (And I could probably teach you how to spin while the dye is exhausting!)