Sunday, August 19, 2007

Adventures in yarn dyeing

Friday night, I started kool-aid dyeing some Knitpicks Bare in fingering weight. The instructions are at and at I used the microwave method.

I was trying to match this:
The orange and yellow yarn is sock yarn from Fearless Fibers, which I held double. I love the variegated effect of holding it double.

I had enough to make 36 squares, which are 4 rounds of the Spinner pattern from 200 Crochet Blocks by Jan Eaton. The 36 squares sewn together are only about 21 inches by 21 inches. Not big enough.

So I needed more orange/yellow for the border. I took a skein of fingering weight superwash that I had already dyed pale yellow using lemon flavor drink mix and over dyed with orange mix, using a 2 inch wide boar bristle brush to paint it on.
The first attempt yielded neon orange. When the instructions say be careful, they weren't kidding. The yarn sucks up the dye very quickly and the color easily becomes more intense than you expect. And I used a lot of bleach cleaner, wiping up any stray drops. That drink mix will dye formica countertops as easily as yarn.

So I threw in a dash of blue raspberry mix which toned it down to this burnt orange:

This is the Old Vienna swatch from 200 Crochet Squares, which I made from Bare, so it dyed well.
My first thought was ewww, burnt orange.

My second thought was I can make an afghan for Sister out of this and Bare, since she went to the University of Texas -Austin, and their colors are white and burnt orange!
My third thought was Am I nuts? I have to finish her sweater first and all my other works in progress and gifts for other people before she gets another hand made gift! Gotta spread the love!

So in the end, after microwaving the yarn over and over again, this is what I have:

Pretty, is it not? It's still a brighter orange and not as much yellow as the Fearless Fibers yarn, but close enough.

Then Saturday morning, I dyed a skein of worsted weight Bare in the blue raspberry mix and this is what I got:

So here are my first handpainted yarns. The orange in fingering weight, the blue in worsted weight:
Saturday night, I started crocheting with the orange yarn, while watching Borat. It was very funny and appalling. Sasha Baron Cohen is a very brave man.
The yarn is no longer soft. I microwaved it so many times, that it feels like the CotLin instead of the soft wool. I'm hoping that the agitation from machine washing and drying will bring it back to life.
Now I'm thinking of signing up for Dye Day with Claudia from Claudia Handpainted Yarns at Knitch. However, it's $175 for 6 hours and I am trying to save up for a new(er) car.
I think I'll stick to playing around with 25 cent packages of kool-aid and $6 skeins of Knitpicks Bare.

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