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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Great Intentions

Well, I'd planned to hustle my work in the a.m. yesterday and do some dyeing after lunch.  I was going to take lots of pictures so I'd remember what I did if it worked and remember what I did if it didn't. Then I was going to write a WednesdayYarn Along post, go to the library and get a new book and be ready to start knitting today.  Like a normal person.


So at 10:30 last night when I decided to call it a day...yeah...I had colors that I really liked (it definitely worked :-)...but wasn't sure I was exactly where I wanted to be for my project.  I slept on it and then darkened my blue and green some more this morning.  

I dyed yarn!  Almost completely by myself.  Thanks for the phone support, kbdoolin.  Part of why I don't remember what I'm supposed to do each time is because it's more fun to call you ;-).  I love how everyone helps each other with fiber arts.  That's what it's all about.

I took one 'how I did it' picture.  Yeah.  Here's to painting a picture with some words...instead of pictures.  Keep in mind I am a very beginner dyer so I may have just gotten lucky and what I did isn't what a good dyer would do. 

Now that we're going to have a new built in microwave over our stove, the old microwave has moved to the Wool House to be a dedicated dye microwave.  I think I'm going to keep the old stove, too.  I just need to make sure I have a way to plug it in garage.  You shouldn't use dyes in appliances you cook food in.  Not that that's been a real problem around here in the past, but Saint Tim's hoping the new kitchen will inspire me ;-).

I picked up a 3.5 quart Pyrex bowl that is way bigger than it looks in the above picture.  See, it's one picture and not even a good picture ;-).  Anyway, it's big enough to hold a small skein of yarn.  I think the blue and green skeins are 100 yards each and approximately 2 ounces.  For more than that, I think you'd want to use the pots in the oven...hence trying to save the old stove.

I filled it a little over halfway with hot water and added some glugs of white vinegar and a tiny bit of whatever color I wanted - I am very happy with the Jacquard dyes.  Popped it in the microwave to get it really hot and then added my prepped yarn (prepped as in soaked in hot water for about 15 minutes).  I donned my insulated gloves (thanks Robin :-D), stirred everything around, squeezed the dye water through and through and swirled it and squeezed (yep, I'm sure some of you have fainted now ;-) and did my best to make sure everything looked pretty even and then I stuck it in the microwave for 3 minutes.  Then I let it sit for a few minutes and checked it.  

I pretty much was a chicken on all my colors, thinking I could always add more dye, but couldn't take it away if it got too dark too fast.  If I had to add more color, I pulled the yarn out, added another glug of vinegar, a bit more dye, stirred it around good, made sure the yarn was still evenly saturated and dumped it back in.  And swirled and squeezed and poked it down, swirled... 

NOTE:  DON'T EVER DO THAT!  The swirling/squeezing/stirring part.  Normally you'd end up with horribly felted yarn I'm pretty sure, right?  At least I felted some Cotswold that way a few years ago.  I'm not sure why, but this yarn (the Lamb Camp yarn*) did not care one bit.  I almost wonder if you could knit some socks with it and wash them without them shrinking.  I guess I could knit a swatch and try it.

Anyway, each color went back in I don't know how many times.  Several.  I added more of the main colors first and then to get it darker I added some black and some more black and some more black.  I spent way more time messing with it than I should have, but it was fun and I had specific colors in mind and enjoyed playing around to try to get them.  Here's where I ended up.  

Oh, and here's where I (once again) get to be the example of what not to do.  See the white dots on the black yarn?

And the light brown on the dark brown?  I put my skein ties on too tight.  They need to be loose so the dye can actually get TO the yarn.  I even knew that ahead of time.  It's not horrible, but I may try to touch it up.  I also may darken my blue one more time.  And then I may darken the green one more time.  And then darken the brown one more time and then the blue...... 

No, I'm not.  I'm going to knit this as it is.  The colors are pretty and if they still aren't 100% right, it's only a hat and I can dye another batch and make another one.  It will be fun!

So what am I knitting?  In the midst of feeling like I'm missing out on just about everything this fall,  I'm completely being left in the dust on the Baa-ble Hat craze.  Everyone and their barn cat is knitting one (or five) and I completely see why.  The Shetland Wool Week 2015 knitting pattern.  Too. Stinkin' Cute. 

My "colorway" is supposed to be a night time pasture scene.  One thing I've really enjoyed about camping out next to the barn is hanging out with the sheep late at night and laying in bed listening to Graham and Petunia's bells chime as they shuffle around the barn or head back out for a midnight snack.  A perfect lullaby :-).  

I think it's going to be a sweet hat and I think a small project is going to be much easier for me to tackle right now.  I just haven't felt like I have the concentration to knit on Baaxter's sweater, even though it's basically just rounds and rounds of stockinette stitch. 

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If you've made it down this far...I am extending the calendar giveaway deal-y for one more day.  I feel bad that I added it on to the post the other day as an after thought and it may have been missed.  I have no idea why some of you are having trouble posting comments.  You are not alone.  Just send me an email to enter.  Remember, share something that made you laugh this year.  

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*Yes, there will be Lamb Camp yarn for sale on the website eventually.  It's here.  It's really pretty.  It dyes really well :-).  kbdoolin says it knits up nicely.  I'm hoping to get a chance to find out ;-).

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