Monday, March 5, 2012

Revisiting Experimental Yarn

One of my first yarn dyeing projects was to try overdyeing some plain baby blue wool I had found in a half-off bin. It was perfectly good to use as was, but I was thinking it would be nice to give it a little boyish oomph! The problem was, in Kool-aid colors, all I had boy-wise was red. Well, every kindergartner knows that red and blue make...purple. Not a very boyish color. So my color choice was poor and my execution was lazy. What I ended up with was a slightly more interesting, but maybe not better looking yarn than what I first had. I had already wound it into balls to hopefully knit into something, someday. Yesterday I decided to undo those balls, wind them back into skeins, and put them back into the yarn-to-be-dyed pile! Today I hope to try redying these skeins into something I actually want to knit with, but my toddler is making very unhappy noises over the monitor, so there may be no yarn dyeing today...

Okay, little one is happily ensconced in a cozy spot with his new favorite movie, Toy Story (so long, Curious George). I am handpainting this one remaining skein of blue with three greens and a blue. To do this I am using Sunshine Yellow, Amazon Green, a combo of those two, and Coral Reef Aqua. Here is a test bit of yarn I did.

For the other funky purple and blue skeins I will overdye half in a full strength Amethyst dye bath and the other half in partial strength Amethyst and see what I get...Well, I let the first half stew too long and used up most of the dye bath, so I poured in a little more Amethyst for the rest of the skein, twice, and still wasn't happy. So I'm winging it some more. Why not add some Ruby Red to the dyebath? Now I think this is really lovely!

My handpainted yarn is steaming away and in a few minutes I will see if it is lovely too...In the meantime I will remember that I still have a family to feed (Do we really need to eat? There are these perfectly good, if not a little stale, animal crackers spilling out of the bag onto the counter. They have managed to satisfy my hunger pangs.) and prepare dinner. What are you having? Anything good? I am uninspired with my meal plan menu these days. By the way, my dyeing book, Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece (which is a great one), says never to cook and dye at the same time. I concur with this because not only is there not enough room in my kitchen to dye and cook, but you really don't want the purple Kool-aid looking dye stock to end up in a sippy cup! So as soon as my steaming pot is finished, then I will begin boiling pasta water and buttering garlic bread.

I have just finished putting my leftover dye stocks high in a cabinet where little ones can't get to it, and bigger ones can't accidentally knock them over looking for something. Currently, my jars are covered with plastic wrap and rubber bands. I had no lack of glass jars in the recycling bin, but hardly any lids. They will sit there, tempting me to another experiment in dyeing. While there is yarn in this house that lacks color...oh it's so much fun!

I have pulled my painted yarn out of the steamer--oh disappointments, the aqua color has not set! I'm not sure what to do. I have sprinkled some vinegar over the yarn and now I am steaming it for a while longer. Maybe the blue needed more acid to stick? I could probably look it up and find out...nah.

 After more steaming, the aqua is still not fully absorbed, but my fingers are a lovely shade of blue green. My last ditch effort and making this color stay is to toss it into a pot of water with a little citric acid.

Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours, to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be.

 Do you hear the music?

Here it is. I like it, and dinner is well under way--with veggies too. Yay, Mom!

Don't forget to do something creative today, even if it's macaroni art with your preschooler! That counts too.

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