Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sunday = Fun with Dye

I am way behind in studying pathophysiology. It's only two weeks into the semester, and I'm already behind. So I decided to do the responsible thing, and spent all day dyeing yarn. After reading through all 70+ pages of the Craftster forum on Kool-Aid dyeing, I felt ready to get my hands wet. A trip to Michael's on Friday with my friend Allison armed me with some basic supplies and itching to get started. A long night out stalled my plans, and Saturday was spent recovering.
And then it was Sunday, with nothing to do except a ton of reading and Epi homework. It was time to dye.

The Ingredients:
Paton's Classic Wool Merino yarn, Aran (on sale!) - 2 skeins
Wilton's Dye Gel - 1 bottle each: pink, violet, burgundy, teal
Plastic cups and knives left over from Thursday's Grey's party
Lots of Glad wrap
Pyrex baking dish
2 pots, intended for herb planting

The Process:
1. I wrapped the yarn around the two pots, splitting each ball into two hanks.

2. I tied 4 pieces of yarn loosely around each hank, in order to keep it from falling apart/tangling.

3. I soaked each hank in hot tap water and some vinegar (I guess one "glug" per hank), squeezing out the air. I let the hanks soak while preparing the dye.

(My helper is the one and only Berkelface, aka Berkley)

4. For the dye, I put a dab of color into each plastic cup and added hot tap water, mixing with the knife. For the first hank, I made the colors really strong, and had to make more in order to cover the yarn. I played with the ratios of dye:water for the rest of the hanks.

5. I squeezed out the yarn, and placed it into the Pyrex dish (for the first hank, I tried to stretch it out on plastic wrap and add the dye, but ended up with a leaky mess - it turned out, but definitely wasn't the easiest way to go).

6. I poured the dye from the cups onto the yarn in the dish, squishing it in with the knives (originally, I used my hand covered with a plastic bag, but again with the mess). I added a little more water to some, though there wasn't a lot of logic behind it.

7. I covered the dish with plastic wrap and poked holes in the top.

8. I put the dish in the microwave and nuked it for 2 minutes at a time, allowing it to sit for a bit inbetween (mostly because I'm lazy and didn't want to run to the kitchen all the time). I repeated the 2-minute cycles until I thought the water was mostly clear, or in the case of the first hank, decided nothing else was going to absorb. I let the dish sit for a while in the microwave in order to cool down.

9. I poured off the excess water and then put the yarn into a bowl with cool water and a tiny drop of dishwashing soap (mostly to try and counteract the wet-wool smell). I gently wrinsed the yarn until the water ran clear, and then squeezed the yarn dry.

10. I hung the yarn to dry. It took a while, about a day, probably because I had to hang them inside as the weather is iffy right now.

11. After they were dry, I wound them into skeins, and voila!

In the middle of this, Epidemiology homework did get done, though pathophys is waiting until tomorrow...

Why Barefoot Knits

My feet need to be free. They don't like being encoumbered by shoes or (god forbid) socks. My head and hands don't like to be covered either, but I especially need naked feet. My grandmother (Sito) was also a free-footed woman. For her funeral, we all wore sandals with our toes painted red, her favorite polish, in her honor (totally bare feet don't do so well in the Michigan fall). She was a knitter, chrocheter, and an amazingly strong woman. She is my inspiration. I hope to try and follow in her (bare) footsteps, and serve her memory well.