Thursday, October 05, 2006
Sometime ago I bought 3 garbage bags full of wool from an estate sale. I wasn't thrilled with some of the colors but it was wool so what the heck. Apparently this woman was either going to make LOTS of Fair Isle sweaters or she just decided to buy 4 twin paks of every color the company offered. Here is a VERY small selection of the yarn and the colors that I didn't care for.
There are ten different shades of color here and 2 skeins each (2oz each). Um if I figure that correctly it's 40 oz. WOW...that was a lot of fiber to dye. After much debate with myself I decided the only way to do it "properly" was to dye it all at once, so maybe, just maybe, I'd be able to retain the color gradient. After deciding to dye it all at once the "proper" way of doing things flew right the window. Given the fact that I had never dyed more than 2 oz at a time, with koolaid, and in the microwave, the task seemed a bit daunting. Everything I had ever been told, read, or heard said that I HAD to use small amounts (an oz or two of fiber at most) when dyeing with koolaid in the microwave. Although it also struck me that there was never anywhere or anyone who could answer the simple question, "why not?" So being the lazy, stubborn, need to see proof, of person I am, I divided the wool into two piles of five skeins each (20 oz). I used 10 pkg of koolaide for each batch....OK, THAT is "proper" cuz my research told me so! (Although again for no factual reason I could find, thus the mega dose of koolaid in the crockpot dye job of a previuos post that worked wonderfully) So...into the microwave the fiber went, 5 skeins, 10 pkg of koolaid, 20 oz at a time. Without getting out my notes, if I remember correctly, it took three 2 minutes cycles to absorb all the dye.
I had used tropical punch and I wasn't too keen on the outcome. Not my colors, so I did the whole process again with strawberry with a couple of pkgs of grape thrown in as well. As you can see with the samples below, I lost a bit of the gradient in the second dye job, (there are only 5 now) but the colors are a bit more to my liking.
left to right: original wool, 1st dye job (tropical punch), 2nd dye job (strawberry and grape).
A beautiful day huh. And what do normal people do on a beautiful day such as this......
They dye by solar energy that's what! Doesn't everybody?!? Yep, if you haven't guessed by now, I am a GEEK.
Yes, that is a bunch of beer boxes covered in foil surrounding a coffee can containing a 4 oz ball of lace weight merino, blue dye stock, and yes that is a meat thermometer taped to the side of the can!
Wow!!! 150+ degrees!! BTW ambient temp was 82...Did I double the ambient temp.....you betcha I did, although this is the highest temp I have recorded by photo. Dang I can be such a nerd and get so excited about the strangest things. I did take copious notes though and my best estimation* of the highest temp was 177 degrees.
*estimation cuz of the thermometer, it kind of lacks calibration marks.
Internally the temps were nearly identical.
Ahhhh, I had such good fun doing this, and look forward to another day in the sun. I have about a 1000 things I can do to make this "set-up" more efficient, but alas they will have to wait until another warm day, and those are now gone, it's October and the leaves are falling. Although.....there just might be a sunny winter day coming up soon. I wonder just how high I can get the temps on a typical Midwest winter's day, bet I can triple if not quadruple the ambient temp. LOL that's not saying much.
Yes, there are no bounds to my geekdom, and while most would think doing this type of thing is absurd. And most would be incredibly embarrassed for having documented it, let alone posting it to a blog for all to see, I on the other hand had good silly fun and got some yummy yarn that matched the color of the sky that day.