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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gradient Dying

Gradient dying is where yarn is dyed the same colour but in tones from light to dark. The tutorials I had seen for this involved adding yarn to the dye pot and gradually removing sections. This seemed very messy. I wondered what would happen if I used pots with different amounts of dye in them. I liked the pink that resulted from my first attempts with icing colours. So I bought some more Full O'Sheep to be dyed. Instead of winding into a hank, I divided it into four roughly equal balls in the hope that my end result would shade from light pink to dark pink. These were soaked in vinegar solution while I dissolved the dye in boiling water. Four pots with 1/8 teaspoon, 1/4 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon and 1 teaspoon Petal Pink icing colour.

One ball of yarn was placed in each pot, which I had placed in a casserole dish and then zapped in the microwave. This took a while. When I thought the water was clear I left the yarn to cool but when I went back to it the water had taken back the dye. In the end I left the yarn overnight gave it a final zap in the microwave the next morning and left it to cool. This seemed to do the trick.

I like the end result. You can see the section from the least amount of dye and the one with the most amount of dye but the middle two sections do not look much different from each other. I will try this again with a different yarn that is less fuzzy to see if that makes a difference.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Sun's Out But I'm Still Dying

My first post with my dying attempts explained that it was something to do when it was raining. There was just one thing I didn't realise - dying is addictive. There were three more dying ideas I wanted to try - something to go with the bright colours from the first round of Kool-Aid dying, gradient dying and dying sock yarn. This post will show the results from the first and third of these.

Firstly I needed yarn. So off to Michael's and I bought a ball of Paton's Classic Wool and a ball of Stash Nation Full O' Sheep; the two yarns I had used in my initial attempts. But they didn't have any natural colour sock yarn and then I remembered I had yarn left over from these socks.

The sock yarn. I decided on striping yarn in three colours. Two Kool-Aid and one Wilton's icing so I soaked the yarn in vinegar solution. As Paton's Kroy comes in 50 gram balls I had two small balls left. I wound them together around two trusty chairs to make 1 hank. I should have made a note as I cannot remember how I decided how long to make the hank. After soaking the hank was laid out on cling film. I made up Orange Kool-Aid, Ice Blue (Raspberry Lemonade) Kool-Aid and Teal Wilton's in 1/4 cup of water.

Also I didn't squeeze all the water out of the yarn. This time I didn't want the spread of the colour to be decided by how much water I added after. I aimed for 1/3 of the yarn in each colour but it looks as if there was slightly less of the teal.

The yarn was wrapped in the cling film, put in a dish and microwaved until the water was clear.

The final result after the yarn has been split into two skeins.

While this was going on the Classic Wool was soaking in vinegar solution. What I had originally wanted was not what I ended up with but I am very happy with the end result.

Before soaking the wool had to be wound into a hank. The measurements were easy for this. I roughly measured my kitchen work top and placed the chairs slightly less than that distance apart. I chose Wilton's icing colours in black and copper. I wasn't sure how the black was going to come out as one blog said the colours broke like a bruise; as I did not want a variegated yarn I added a little of Wilton's brown. The dye mix was very green and you can see how green it is in this photo after I've added the dyes to the yarn - roughly half of the hank each. Those lines across? They're left over teal. I wondered how that would come out. Answer not at all.

This is how the yarn came out. Brown with green undertones.

A good example of how you cannot rely on the dye pot or the unheated yarn for your end result.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I Left My Cake Out In The Rain

After the Kool-Aid dying, I tried my hand at dying with icing dyes. This is another food safe practice. i.e You can use normal kitchen utensils etc and do not have to take any special precautions. The one difference between using food colourings and Kool-Aid is that you have to add acid; Kool-Aid contains citric acid.

This was the yarn I used.

Also 100% wool like the last time but this is marked as Peruvian wool and has more loft. In other words the yarn has a slight fuzz.

I bought a box of 4 colours labeled Pastel:- soft colours for soft yarn.

I used 1/8 teaspoon of each colour, dissolved in hot water. The extra step when using food colours is soaking in acid. The tutorials I found differed in the amount of time for soaking from as little as 20 minutes to as much as overnight. I think I ended up soaking the yarn (after winding into a hank) for a couple of hours. I used a 1 to 4 solution of white vinegar and water.

I had wound the yarn into a small hank, squeezed out most of the water and added the dyes. Here is a drawing to try to show how I added the colours. Basically I had the blue and green on the long sides with the hank roughly divided into two and the pink and orange on the short sides again with the hank divided in two. Think of the division as top and bottom.

The yarn was put into a casserole dish and some water added so that the dyes would spread.

This was placed in the microwave and heated for 2 minutes at a time with 2 minute breaks in between.This needed more "zaps" than the Kool-Aid and when it seemed very hot I left it for 5 minutes before reheating. Once all the dye had been taken up I left the yarn to cool before rinsing and hanging to dry.

This is how it turned out.

Although this is not the pastel, Easter shades I was envisioning when I bought the dye. This yarn is full of different colours and more interesting than my initial plan. I have tried to show all the colours in this photo although it is hard to get a close-up.

And the finished skein.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

May Round Up

I posted one pair of socks that I completed at the end of May but I also completed a pair at the beginning of the month as well as the obligatory two dishcloths.

The socks I completed were the mystery from March. The pattern is Cadence Socks by Very Busy Monkey and can be found on Ravelry. The yarn is Fleece Artist Trail Socks and was a Christmas present from hubby.I love the colour.

I am not going to post a photo of the first dishcloth of the month. I was disappointed with the pattern and there is nothing special to show. I was late starting the second pattern of the month and realised it would be easy to work in many colours. A great way to use up oddments. I worked 10 rows in each colour.

I finished my second oldest project. (Although my oldest project was started the day before.) I started it on my trip to Texas last year as I wanted something simple that would take a while. The pattern is Citron from The yarn is Zauberballe by Schoppel-Wolle. it is supposed to be a sock yarn and, although it does contain 25% nylon it felt too soft for socks.

This is a photo of Citron blocking. I don't have a good photo of it being worn as that would involve another member of this house taking a photo or wearing it, neither of which will have a good result.

A few things were cast on in May. Here is a photo of an item that didn't make it very far. Once again the yarn is sock yarn. I wanted something quick and easy to use the yarn by the end of the month so I wouldn't lose points in our challenge. When I knew this pattern wasn't going to work with the yarn I decided it was better to lose points than work madly on something I wasn't going to like.

Do you like that the Boychild had to be in the photo?

Two other items cast on in May were the mystery sock, of which I have one completed; and a scarf with yarn given to me for my birthday, that is nearly finished.

I have decided for June I need to finish all my little projects. So at the end of June all that should be on my needles is the long term lace project and anything I cast on in June. That shouldn't be too hard. I finished one pair of socks at the weekend, so I am left with the previously mentioned scarf, the second of a pair of socks that I was lengthening and the second of May's mystery socks.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Because The Designer Liked Them

Usually I do a monthly round up of the socks and dishcloths I have knitted the previous month but I wanted these socks to have their own post. Two simple reasons:- I love them and the designer said they were the prettiest she'd seen.

One of the challenges for May in the Sock Knitters Group on Ravelry was texture other than ribbing. I found a pattern that was created by one of the members of the group about a year ago and knew I had just the yarn for it. Just before our self-imposed yarn famine, I bought yarn from The Sanguine Gryphone. I purchased three different types, one of which being Skinny Bugga in Adonis Butterfly colourway.

The sock pattern is Quartzonite by RoseHiver. She does not have a blog but you can find her on Ravelry.

Oh and because the designer is from Montreal I had to name these socks after Patrick Roy.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Dying in the Rain

It rained most of last week, so on Friday I tried dying yarn for the first time. Actually, it was my first attempt at dying anything.

When I first got the book, Socks Socks Socks I was interested in the pair which had been made with yarn dyed in Kool_Aid. I kept this in the (very) back of my mind as something to try one day. My interest was rekindled when a local place was offering a class and when the class didn't pan out I decided to go ahead and try on my own. After all there are plenty of tutorials on the web.

I had purchased Kool-Aid when I saw it on sale, one packet of each flavour. But I needed yarn.

Now I was ready to go.

First the yarn had to be wound from a ball into a hank. This wasn't difficult with a chair and a willing helper.

After tying the yarn in a few places with cotton crochet thread, I soaked it in soapy water and rinsed and thought what colour(s) I wanted the yarn to become. Although it was my first attempt, I didn't want one colour, so I dived right in and went for three - Strawberry, Strawberry Kiwi and Grape.

I didn't use much water with the drink mix and I had squeezed most of the water out of the yarn so when I poured the mix onto the yarn it looked like this.

So after putting it in the microwave safe dish I added water which made the Kool-Aid spread through the yarn. The yarn was zapped in the microwave for two minutes with a two minute break in between. I think I did this three times and the water was clear.

Remember I'm doing this because the weather is horrible? I had to hang the hank in my bathroom to dry but I did put it outside on Saturday to finish off and to blow away some of the grape smell.

On Monday I rewound it into a bigger hank and skeined.

This wasn't my only adventure with dying. I also dyed some other wool with Wilton's icing colours. I loved the results of that which I will show another day.