Dyeing to Meet the Challenge!

Q –  This is my dye challenge the Fair Isle Beret featured in Prima November 2009! Will I be able to take the raw yarn below and dye it to match the purple, brown, and pink colors found in the beret?  Saturday was rainy, windy day so I couldn’t go outside and use the Jacquard dyes, I don’t like using them inside.  I stayed warm and dry indoors and used food color dye.  I know, I know, these colors tend to be WAY to bright, but that’s what was in the house.  After rewinding the yarn onto the nitty noddy, it was soaked in a mixture of Kookaburra Delicate and vinegar for 48 hours.  Since I don’t need as much brown and pink yarn, I made small 20 gram hanks which were soaked in the mixture for an hour.

I used Wilton’s Food Coloring in brown, pink, and purple.  See the dye splotches? I was just checking to see the colors.  Very cool!  They really do look BRIGHT!  The brown looks more greenish.  We’ll see!

I started with the brown.  It really looks green.  Amazing how you can’t tell what color the yarn will be based on the color of the liquid.    I added about 8 cups of water into the crockpot and poured in about 2 tablespoons more vinegar for mordant.  I poured in brown dye until it looked as if it were dark enough.  I was trying for a tan color, not dark brown.  I’m thrilled with the crockpot that I found on Friday for $8!  Another one of my fabulous thrift store finds. Thank you to the person who gave it away.

Turned the crockpot to high.  It took about an hour for the dye to be exhausted.  Took the yarn out and cooled it.  Really wasn’t 100% happy with the color so after I dyed the pink and the purple yarns I redyed the brown and it turned out perfect!  The first time it was too mottled and there were green spots.

The pink yarn was dyed next. Rather interesting that the pink dye left a pink rim around the inside of the crockpot.  It turned out a bit to bright, even though I used about 1/8 teaspoon to 1 cup of water.  It was then diluted further when only a tiny bit was added into 8 cups of vinegar – water mixture in the crockpot. Everything I’ve read said that adding vinegar to pink food coloring or easter egg dyes would make a lighter color.  Didn’t work in this instance.  I put it into Oxyclean and desaturated it a tiny bit.  Rinsed really well.

Last to dye was the purple.  It really came out mottled.  I had soaked the yarn in yarn soak for about 48 hours so the yarn was throughly wet.  I have about 100 grams of wool.  It took a few hours to exhaust the purple. After I took it out it didn’t look as if it was the purple I was looking for. It’s hard to see but the yarn is too periwinkle blue with lots of hot pink thrown in – definitely not what I’m going for! Pretty, but not up to meeting the challenge. So, I decided to wait until the morning to check it in morning light. Since yesterday was sunny, I took the purple yarn outside and studied it.  It really was too periwinkle blue – hot pink- blue instead of a purple.  It had to go back into the dye pot. Re-soaked the yarn for an hour. Then I made a mixture of two purple Kool-Aids.  Kool-Aid has citric acid as the main ingredient so I didn’t add any more vinegar to the water mixture.   Added the yarn, plugged in the crockpot (lol), and heated the yarn-dye bath until all of the dye was exhausted.  The dye was perfect.

Original purple which had to be redyed:

Voila! The results!  The colors in “real-life” turned out quite well.  Recap time:  1. The brown had to go through the dye bath twice, but the food coloring worked just fine, 2. The pink frosting turned the yarn “hot pink”.  Redyed with pink lemonade and the results were a much softer pink. 3. The purple frosting gave a periwinkle-hot pink-blue color so I redyed with purple Kool-aid!  I think the results are close enough to meet the challenge.  What do you think?

A note about yesterday – It was one of those days!  Sister Barb, Curls, was having a wonderful day, with her husband, at the bike race in Los Angeles.

While riding along doing wonderfully well, her bike fell over on her.  I personally think the bike turned into “Christine”. lol  She ended up with a bruised, swollen ankle.  Thus proving my point that yesterday was really Friday the 13th!

Poor Curls is RICEing her ankle today so we aren’t having our Monday Meeting.  When she’s feeling better she’ll probably tell you all about it.

Ok, I had a tax reprieve from yesterday – they’re not due until tomorrow!  So, ta-ta I’m off to have real fun! lol  I just have to resist the call of the Siren aka Mariah the Spinning Wheel.  Taxes, taxes, taxes!

Strike Three I’m Out – Or, Today is Really Friday the 13th

~After three strikes today, I’m not going to even try to do anything crafty.  Think it will be safer to surf blogs or read or finish taxes. This is my day so far:  Strike 1. Came down to the kitchen this morning, cat was fussing to be fed. Now the cat usually is not quite so insistent, so I decided that feeding her was first priority.  Opened her cat food, turned around and knocked my favorite 2-cup, glass, measuring cup off of the kitchen counter.  I had left it there to dry last night after washing up the dyeing equipment.  Luckily the dog wasn’t downstairs so I didn’t have to worry about him getting in the glass. After about 10 minutes of sweeping I think I have all of the glass up.  Strike 2.  I decided I didn’t like the hank of pink yarn that I dyed yesterday. I dyed all day to meet a dye challenge that I set for myself.  I had planned on sharing that dyeing post today.  That’s out the window.  Decided I would try dyeing with Pink Lemonade Kool-Aid to see if I liked the color better. I got the water and the dye mixed in the crockpot and added the pre-soaked yarn, turned the heat to high.  After about 15 minutes I checked on the yarn.  What the heck?  The color was not taking very well — oh yeah, lesson to me: the crockpot is electric, just turning it to high won’t do a bit of good if it is not plugged in. I’d forgotten that for safety’s sake I’d best unplug the crockpot last night.  Strike 3. After checking for any new followers I was ecstatic to see Weekend Knitter.  So, while eating breakfast, I went through her site.  Enjoyed the fabulous yarns she spins, started salivating over Teavana (my favorite tea place), and saw her impressive Navajo Plying.  The yarn colors make me turn green with envy – I WANT!  My fingers and hands started itching to spin!

Took the cover off of Mariah, grabbed a blend called Ambrosia by Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks: 20% silk, 40% wool, 40% Camel Down.  Oops, no empty bobbin.  Wound the small amount I’d spun on one bobbin onto an empty toilet paper roll, so now I have an empty bobbin and I’m ready to let Mariah fly. Decided to spin another fractal, so I split the yarn and attenuated the portion. I was all ready to spin. The yarn is so soft, it’s spinning as a dream. Um, got mentally side-tracked and the yarn broke after about 15 minutes.  Tried to reconnect, hum, that broke. After three tries I decided that was my third strike of the day and put the yarn end on the velcro tab.  Things are not looking good for this crafter today.  I really think it’s because our taxes are not done – almost, but not quite.  It will only take about another hour to finish them.  I think I’ll keep having problems until they are done.  So, for today, nothing crafty to check in with.