Tuesday, May 13, 2008

To Dye For

Tried something new here at Chez Necessity this week. It's actually something I've been planning for a while, but being the procrastinator careful planner that I am, I hadn't gotten to it. I decided that I needed to try dyeing my own yarn. The Professor has been rolling his eyes (I use eye rolling as a generic term to cover heavenward looks, lip pursing, long silences, etc.) ever since I mentioned this plan, but I forged ahead, as most of my plans elicit eye rolling in some form or other. I bought some cheapo Easter egg dye on sale at Target the week after Easter (I told you I've been putting this off!) and some lovely soft sock yarn called Bare from Knitpicks. I had planned to dye some yarn for socks for my mother for Mother's Day, and so, this past Friday with the deadline looming I decided to do the deed.

There are some fabulous tutorials on the web on how to dye your own yarn, with many different ways to go about it. I decided to paint it with the dye, hoping this would give me a little more control, and a little less mess. The first step is to take your lovely little hank of yarn:
and make it into a really long hank.
Note the very high tech use of chairs placed far apart in my living room. I tied this hank with some yarn to mark where I wanted to paint the colors. A little math helps here; I began a sock with this yarn, figured out I used about 28" of yarn per row, and did a little multiplication. I decided I wanted each stripe of color to be about three rows wide, so I marked around 90" per color. This was not exact, as I wanted some of the stripes to be wider than others (and I didn't measure very carefully, what with the tape measure only being 60" long and me being unable to remember where it stopped).

Then, I laid out newspaper, saran wrap, and the soaked hank of yarn onto my kitchen floor:

I mixed up the colors (had a little trouble figuring out which pellets were for which color, but I persevered) and began painting:
When I had painted all the stripes, I folded the saran wrap around it, put it into a ziploc, and popped it into the microwave. To heat set the color I cooked it on high for 1 minute and let it rest for 1 minute. I did this four times, pulled it out, let it cool, and then soaked it in some water to make sure the colors didn't run:
Note the subtlety of the colors (hmmmm...who would have thought that Easter egg dye would make yarn look so much like, well, Easter eggs....).

Then I hung the yarn to dry (again, extremely high tech):
wound it up into a ball:
and lo and behold it became this:
If feet could ask for sunglasses, mine would. I started the sock in the evening and thought it was bright in the extreme, but that was nothing to what the colors looked like in full-on daylight. Hope you like them Mom - I think I can guarantee that no one will have a pair like them!


Anonymous said...

Wow--great how to blog! I look forward to wearing the socks with my Easter bunny suit. Grmybmy

J$ said...

I love them--what a great process!