Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Another Convert

Hey guys meet Joyce!

Joyce is one of my new Rav peeps. She is a new sock knitter that will very soon become an experienced sock knitter....she's really cranking them out! On Sunday she mentioned in our Illin' Knitter group (Ravelry link) that she wanted to learn about koolaid dyeing. Um yeah like I was going to let that desire of one so close to me go unfulfilled. :o)

Yesterday Joyce came over to my house to play.

And why do you suppose this woman looks so happy standing at a kitchen sink, cuz she was then the very proud (and deservedly so) owner of 2 two new hand dyed sock yarns and a yummy alpaca for a yet to be determined bit of knitterly goodness. See?

Ooops the yellow/orange/pink pic didn't come out. Go to Joyce's blog to see much better pix! It was very good day and we plan on having many more. We already have a few more adventurous dyeing jobs to think about, like making our own sock and scarf blanks.

Wanna see what I did? Actually I didn't really have a plan, I just pulled out a bunch of different things just in case Joyce was not able to find appropriate yarn on such short notice. She did find some for herself so I had lots of option sitting on the table. I had some naked KnitPicks in lace wt and sock wt. I had 5 skeins of Sirdar Balmoral which is a dk wt 72% wool, 25% alpaca, and 3% silk, in a light sage green. I had 5 skeins of Louet Riverstone 100% wool bulky/chunky wt in a light dust blue. I had just bought this stuff during one of Webs recent clearance sales. And I also had two bunches of rovings, both from the Motherload. One bunch of natural undyed, 130 grams, and the other already dyed in an I'll-never-wear-it-autumnal-golden-orange, 247 grams.

I decided to begin with the already dyed roving. I may have mentioned this before but it's apparent that the person who dyed this stuff from the Motherload did two things I would have done differently. 1) she must have used a combination dyestuff like Rit or something cuz the amount of the dye that bleeds out is incredible, and not usable, not for wool anyway (I've tried, hmm make note, throw a bunch of cotton in there next time) and 2) she didn't set nor even rinse the fibers after dyeing.

So anyway getting by those troubles is no big deal and I soldiered on. I began making thin streaks, black and brown, on the roving using a drinking straw as my tool.

It took a really long time. For the next batch I used a paint brush MUCH faster. Duh.

After Joyce left I decided given I had everything already out and sitting there, I'd do two more batches. I drop the Riverstone in a big pot making the light dusty blue a navy blue, and while that simmered I'd dye the natural roving.

I laid the roving out like above but this time I mixed my dye (burgundy) in a little 2oz fine spray bottle and sprayed one side. I flipped the whole thing over and then sprayed it with electric purple and royal blue. Put another layer of plastic wrap on it, rolled it up, and zapped it.

After all that roving was done I checked on the big pot and while the yarn had taken on some nice shades of blue there was still sooooo much dye in the pot it hadn't even lighted up even a tiny bit! Dang this dye is CONCENTRATED!!!!!! (see below for dye info)

Out came the Riverstone and in went the Balmoral. I do have to confess that I did add a touch more dye to the pot cuz I didn't want it all the same blue. I added a tiny bit of forest green and smidgen of black.

When the Balmoral was done simmering there was STILL dye in the water so I threw in both the lace wt and sock KnitPicks. Finally around 10:15 PM the dye was exhausted but not nearly as exhausted as I was! :o)

So here is what I've got:

Balmoral, overdyed icky autumnal hued roving and the spray dyed natural roving.

I'm hoping this spins up into some tweedy goodness. Below is the Balmoral, just look at what 3% silk does for this yarn! This close up of the Balmoral is what it really looks like, not as bright as it looks in the group pic, nice and smokey.

The spray dyed roving.

The next pic is the Riverstone, and the KnitPicks.

My camera hates blues!!!! The picture below is the Riverstone and closer to the real color than the pic above but it still is much darker than even this pic. I don't know what to say about the KnitPick photos. The lace wt. is more purple/wine color very dark and deep and the green has a lot more life to it and much deeper in color. Tell ya what, put a navy filter over your eyes and then you'll see the colors better.

I'm thinking of using the lace wt doubled for a pair of sock cuz although I like making lace I don't wear it. Of course the sock wt merino (green) will be socks, and then of course the rovings will both be socks.......uh oh, I think Joyce's enthusiasm for socks must be contagious!

Ok, I gotta git, the tweedy roving is calling me.

Dye Info:
AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste Food Color
Purchased online from Into The Oven
Very good prices and this soft gel is sooooo easy to mix, much easier than Wilton's paste.


  1. Oh my gosh! When can I come over to your house to play!!!

    Doh! Right..I live in Canada!

  2. They all turned out great! I think your tweed is going to be beautiful...get spinnin lady!