Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The magic of chemical dyes

There is no knitting. Not that I haven't been knitting, but we'll get to that. So I will distract you with some lovely green yarn that Dave and I dyed on Friday, using Jacquard Acid Dyes.
This yarn was dyed using kelly green and forest green stock dyes, which we then diluted to several degrees and used on the yarn. I was initially hoping for something a bit darker, but we got overzealous in our dilutions, and I love the way this turned out. I've since balled it up and swatched, and it's lovely. This is sockweight Kona superwash, 750 meters (two pairs of socks? Socks and armwarmers? Scarf? The options are endless!). I also took some pictures while were doing the dyeing...After this experience I'm definitely thinking that a shower curtain liner would be useful to have on the counter; the blue diaper thing you see here worked well in that it didn't leak, but it
did get totally soaked through and I had to throw it out. Shower curtain would work better for durability. The acid dyes were as easy as the Kool-aid I did awhile back, and you can make so many more colors with ease. I was a bit worried about the smell from the steaming wet yarn/vinegar mass, but it wasn't bad even in my not-overly-well-ventilated apartment. This was a trial skein to see a) how long it would take, b) how many people could be involved without tripping all over each other, and c) how much of a mess it would make. Since I'm having several people over to dye yarn on Easter, these are important issues. So, it takes about 10-20 minutes to apply the dye (once mixed), and 30-40 minutes to steam (and more than one skein could be done at once, if they weren't as big as this one). Dave and I managed to not kill each other, but it was dicey and there was some stepping on of toes and tossing of elbows, so perhaps one person per skein is ideal. That shouldn't be a problem with the dyeing party as I figure everyone will want their own yarn anyway, and I can set up a couple of stations in the kitchen. As for the mess, it wasn't so bad for us, but the more people the more mess. Paper towels are key. And dark clothing - although we didn't get anything on ourselves, I wouldn't want to risk wearing anything white that one wanted to keep that way.

I'm planning to save this yarn to use during May, when Project Spectrum turns green. For April we're on yellow and orange, which I'm not so sure about, really. As I noticed while Flashing the Stash, I don't have any yellow or orange yarn, nor do I want any...Maybe I'll dye some yarn orange and red and call that my PS project for the month...
However, there will be orange photos, since I have a big orange tabby cat :)

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