Monday, May 19, 2008

My cauldrons were brewing today...

And they weren't brewing for the kids running around the house today... ;)

I've had 2 finished soakers waiting to be dyed and lanolized. And one skien of Lion Brand Fisherman's waiting to be dyed.

I've been procrastinating for over a week with the excuse of each thing hasn't told me what color it wanted to be. But I couldn't procrastinate anymore. The yarn waiting to be dyed was to be used to keep myself occupied knitting on our road trip to Ga. So for it to be dry by the time we leave Wed it had to be done today.

The last time I dyed yarn was about 4 years ago for soakers for my then baby Joelle. I used Kool Aid and heat set it in the oven with beautiful results. Well, today its 90 degrees outside and turning on the oven would turn our mobile home into an autoclave! So what to do?

I used sun tea jars and crock pots!

To prepare my yarn I remade the skein into several skeins using my "niddy noddy". Mine was rather large and heavy because it was actually my hubby's parallelets that I sabotaged. Next time I'm just going to splurge and buy a smaller diameter PVC.

After winding the skiens I tied them in about 8 places while on the noddy to prevent tangling in the washing and dying process.

Then I washed and soaked the yarn in a sink tub full of luke warm water and some Johnson's baby wash. I just filled the tub, dumped my soakers and yarn skeins in, swished them around a bit (not too much or it would felt) and left them.

Some time later I pulled the soakers and yarn out and rinsed in a colander using luke warm water. I then put everything into lingerie bags and stuck them in my washing machine.

I spun it on a spin only cycle to get out the excess water.

While the yarn was spinning I prepared my "dye vats".

For one soaker I used 3 packets Strawberry Kool Aid in a 2 quart sun tea jar. For the second soaker I used 4 packets "Soarin Strawberry Lemonade" Kool Aid in a 2 quart sun tea jar.
I know Kool Aid is pretty acidic, but just to help it along I put a splash of white vinegar into each jar after I filled them with water. Then I stirred to make sure the dye was even throughout and then put a soaker into each jar.

(Please ignore the half eaten bowls of oatmeal in the background. I was making my concoctions during breakfast)

I had some Mango Kool Aid I wanted to experiment with so I made a small one ounce skein and put one packet Mango in my one quart sun tea jar with the yarn and water to cover.

These are my Strawberry and Strawberry Lemonade sunning on my back steps.

For my skeins I used the crock pots.

I made one 5 oz skein for a solid soaker and one 3 oz skein and a 2 oz skein for a 2 color soaker. For my 5oz and 3 oz skeins I used 8 packets of Pink Lemonade Kool Aid in my 7 quart crock. Filled with water and a splash of vinegar and submerged my 2 skeins.

For my 2 oz skein I used 1 pkt Grape Kool Aid in my 2 quart crock. Filled with water, a splash of vinegar and submerged my small skein.

Turned both on high, covered them and left them alone.

I was really surprised how quick the yarn in the crock pots exhausted the dye. It only took a few hours. I wasn't happy with how light they were so I added 2 pkts Strawberry to the 7 qt crock and 1 pkt Grape to the 2 qt crock. Another hour or so and that was exhausted again.
The crocks were turned off to cool.

About 12:30 I checked on the sun jars and they didn't even feel warm yet. I moved them to set on my air conditioner because it was sunnier there. I expect as the afternoon got warmer the dying process will speed up.

After my crocks cooled a bit I dug around in my yarn a bit and noticed some of the larger skein of yarn didn't dye evenly so I turned the crock back on and added another pkt of Strawberry Lemonade.

The sun tea jars took a while to finish dyeing. In fact, I got called into work so I left them outside and had my hubby bring them in after dark so I'm not sure when they were done or how long it officially took.

When I got home from work I filled my sink tub with fresh water and soaked each skein and soaker to make sure there was no bleeding. Then I put them back into the lingere bags and spun them again in the washer. And hung them over the shower curtain rod to dry over night.

This is what greated my hubby when he went to take a shower in the morning. I wonder if he has as much appreciation for dyeing that I do :)

I'm not too thrilled with how the grape turned out, so I'm going to try the zap dye method in the microwave to re-dye it tomorrow. But I think the Strawberry soaker turned out lovely and I'm pleased with the Pink Lemonade skeins. The larger one still looks a little tye dyeish to me, but it will do. I'm anxious to see what they look like knitted up!

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