02 December 2010
7 Small Shawls: T - 30 days and counting down.
Today I took a little dye break. This is amazing for me, since the thought of dyeing things used to give me heart palpitations. In a bad way. But ever since my last club shipment, when I over-dyed all of the club yarn and mildly felted a couple of spare skeins (horrors!), I am feeling much more sanguine about adventures in dyeing.
When I woke up this morning, I knew it was A Good Day to Dye. I whipped out my skein of lovely silk/cashmere. I know some of you are groaning right now, because this is a really pretty color. But it is emphatically not my color.
First, I tied the yarn loosely with cotton and dunked it in very warm water. I let it soak for about two minutes. It could have gone longer, but I really didn't want the color to take perfectly evenly. I wanted a little tiny bit of variation. (Yes, those are plastic chop sticks!)
Then I submerged it in a gold dye bath. This is an acid dye I had left over from over-dyeing Pins & Lace Club yarn (the club yarn was green) and it had already been mixed with vinegar. I added it to hot water and submerged the pink yarn.
About halfway through, I realized that I hadn't untied the tight tie at the top of the skein. This was Bad because I wasn't after the tie-dyed pink stripe look. I undid the tie and reconciled myself to a little bit of a lighter spot on the yarn since it hadn't been wet through at that spot. I'm ok with that, though. I think it adds some interest.
After getting it throughly wet through with dye, I removed the yarn from its bath and placed it in a ziplock bag. Quite a bit of dye bath sloshed in, and I let it stay in the bag. I sealed the bag except for a space to let steam escape, placed the bag in a glass pan, and put the whole thing in the microwave. If you do much dyeing, you should invest in an extra microwave that you do not use for food.
I lay the yarn as flat as possible and microwaved on high for 4 minutes. Then I turned it over on the other side for another 4 minutes. When I removed the bag, the dye was exhausted. IOW, it had been absorbed into the yarn. (Aside: if you have never dyed, try it first in a pot boiling on the stove; it's really cool to watch the dye soak into the yarn and the water go clear as the dye exhausts).
When the yarn came out of the microwave, it was scorching, burning, scalding hot. I let it cool out on the porch for a couple of hours. This is a very very important step. At this point, yarn is most easily felted. When it was cool enough to handle, I removed it form the bag, hung it up on the yarn tree, and let it get cooler still. When my paranoid side was utterly satisfied with the temperature of the yarn, I tossed it into a lingerie bag and spun the excess water out in the washing machine.
And here we have it; a decidedly more Romi-esque color, even though it's not green.
I can't wait to knit it up!