Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Dye-saster and the rescue mission

After joining my first lace KAL (Secret of the Stole, see button...you can STILL join!) I thought it would be an excellent idea to custom dye the yarn to go with the beads I was choosing.

How difficult could that be? I have seen it done many times through people's blog. You can do it with food dyes and vinegar. It is safe and fool-proof.


Turns out, it is not.
Well it IS safe...

So, armed with my dream of the perfect green I set out to find a supplier online (found a cheap e-bay seller that delivered oh-so-quickly the 30 pretty colours of its range), I begged and begged to go shopping so I could stock up on vinegar and purchase more knitting needles from the charity shop on the way (and some acryl for Innocent...more on that on the right).

T'was Sunday afternoon before I was ready to get going.
Surely the winding of the skein and securing of it will take 30 minutes or so....wrong again! (it may take that long for 100g of bulky...the 100g=1500m+ of cobweb...2 hours JUST for the skeining, by hand with help from P...).

Finally the skein was ready, would lovingly on the back of the sofa and tied in no less than 9 places to be safe.
Now for the dye...
I had read the blog entry from Pieknits (http://www.pieknits.com/blog/2006/02/dyeing_with_wiltons_icing_dye.html) on using food dyes, so I soaked the yarn whilst preparing the colour (spruce and christmas green).
At that point the kitchen paper test and its slight graduation of bluey-yellowy-greeny brightness should have alarmed me...bah it's just the paper effect I thought.

Diligent pupil, I prepared the dye bath, added the yarn, heated and had steaming for 10 min before the vinegar went in.
It took about 50 minutes for all the dye to be absorbed, so I left it to cool down before rinsing and hanging.

At that point I REALLY thought the colour looked lovely.

An hour or so later the yarn was cooled and so I rinsed (with tell-tale red running out of the rinse), careful to avoid felting, and set out to hang it to dry...

"It's very green" I thought..."It's uneven" I thought... but still I decided to allow it to dry.

The next morning, after having peaked at it all through the evening hoping for a magical change I decided to cut a piece of the tail to look at later in the day...maybe the light in the bathroom was wrong.

But it was not. I knitted the foot-long piece of yarn into a tiny square, and there it was looking at me, Leprechaun-green lacy stockinette.

That evening I decided the yarn would be re-dyed. I had asked the mighty web , and an expert dyer for help-advice-support-well wishing.

Before I sealed the fate of the yarn I immortalised the green yarn monster...(turns out my phone does not do the colour justice it was much brighter than that for real! ...more like THIS)

I was keen to try and resolve the dye-saster last night so was pleased to find a clean kitchen and pot when I got in from work.

Having re-read the blog I based my original experiment on (add some red to tone the green..check) and taken into account my pro-dyer's advice (see her fab stuff at http://www.stormintheattic.com/ ) of 'uneven colour tells me the yarn wants salt'...and full of the determination that only the chemist and cook know when the recipe did not come out 'right', I started again.

The yarn was still in skein so I put it in a glass bowl and measured the amount of lukewarm water that would be needed to cover it (2L) and took back about 250 mL for dye dissolution.

The amount of vinegar according to the web is 60 mL for 1L of water,so 120 mL went into the bowl with the yarn.. at that point i remembered #salt# (how much...not sure. ok, let's go with 2tbsp...in the bowl it goes).

Dye (last time was Christmas green + spruce green, this time spruce green, dark brown and a hint of cherry for a total of about 2/3 teaspoon food paste) dissolved goes into the pan.

After 15 minutes the yarn was lifted from the bowl, the liquid was added to the pan, stirred and the yarn carefully added.

Slow heat, some very gentle lifting into the bowl then back in and after 50 minutes the dye bath had lost its reddish tinge to be left with some lighter green.

Left to cool to a temperature i can handle (because I was so impatient yesterday...normally i WOULD allow for full cooling) I rinsed with same temperature clear water and diminished the rinse temperature gradually.

The colour was there...and stayed there: a deep (although still wet)browny green that looked EVEN...could have I got it right on my second attempt?

The result will be confirmed tonight as the rescued yarn hangs,drying, in the bathroom (see how cotton takes the red but not the green..strange hey)...

Now to learn the secret to the lace cast on...


Storm op Zolder said...

Don't hate me: I love the green...but then I love anything concerning leprechauns ;-)

spinne said...

O, how I loved the first green!!!
Greetings from Austria (I saw you at the secret of chrysopolis)

Mindy said...

I think they both looked great!