Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dyeing to Knit

Thus far in my knitting "career," I've carefully avoided going beyond knitting. There are so many add-on crafts--dyeing, spinning, raising sheep--and it wasn't really that I thought I wouldn't enjoy them (especially raising sheep), but rather that knitting takes up quite enough of my time and eats more than enough of my paycheck. So I abstained.

It seems though, that my resolve is showing some cracks. A few months back, I received a "learn to dye" swap kit. I tucked it away with my crafts supplies, and then moved apartments and misplaced it for a few decades. I rediscovered it earlier this month, and decided I shouldn't let it go to waste.

I wasn't going to start Dyeing Yarn, really, I just needed to use up those gifts! That's all! It's not a new hobby!

And so began the great Dyeing Experiment.

I started with this bare silk/merino blend:

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And this bulky KnitPicks wool in a light shade of gray:

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My kit had a variety of dyes, but didn't want to try anything too complicated, so I opted for the Kool Aid as the dye least likely to stain parts of my kitchen and person permanently.

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I had forgotten how stinky Kool Aid is.

Now, most people starting a new hobby pasttime adventure in dyeing might do some research on color theory, take some time to ponder how the colors will mix, and what effect the fiber content of the yarn might have on the outcome.

They might try to remember something learned in their (rather expensive) high school art classes about primary and secondary colors so they don't wind up with brown sludge-looking mixtures.

I just sort of winged it.

For the bare merino, I mixed black cherry and pineapple, hoping for an reddish orange.

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And for the other, I stirred up some grape, pineapple and lemonade--I don't really know what I was going for . . . a warm purple? I got something with a greenish tinge:

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Eh.

But I soldiered on.

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And given the completely uninformed manner in which I went about this whole project, I don't think things turned out too badly:

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Other than not really giving any consideration to how to mix colors, my primary mistake was tying the skeins too tightly--the red yarn has white bands all around it where the dye didn't reach the yarn. Oops.

I don't think this will become a regular hobby, but it's definitely something I'm going to keep in mind when I find yarn in hiding in my stash that could use a fresh look.

And you know what else I have hiding my craft bin?

A drop spindle.

3 comments :

Anonymous said...

I love the black cherry and pineapple. Good job!

Linda B.

CrookedKnitter said...

I think they look great! Not sure what else you have in that kit, but make sure they're food-grade before using them in your normal pots and pans. Some dyes can be toxic if ingested so you'd want to use a separate pot for them than for your spaghetti :o)

Clumsy Knitter said...

Wow, those actually look pretty good! I have a few colors of yarn in my stash that I don't really like, and I think over-dyeing them is the only way to fix them. I'll have to do some research about the color results first though. Thanks for the tip!