Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dyeing day

You got ugly yarn?  You got boring yarn?  Groan... how do you start a decent blog post?  Well, whatever.  Last Saturday my aunt and grandma-in-law came up from their Lethbridge homes to dye some yarn under the watchful eye of my textile-artist mom.  Mom had picked up a bunch of super cheap, plain white pure wool at Value Village, so we could experiment without worrying about ruining any nice yarn, because frankly I, for one, suck at 'colour'.

The process was surprisingly easy.  We used synthetic dyes, which my mom buys in powder form and mixes up into primary colours.  She stores them in whatever plastic bottles she has lying around.  These dyes are TOXIC, though, so nothing used in dyeing should be re-used for any other purpose, and you should use gloves (see her using gloves????).  Under my mom's arm in the pic below, you can see the plain white yarn soaking in a mixture of water and vinegar.  That preps the yarn for taking on dye.

This is my mom.  On the table there is dye in different containers, yarn soaking in water and vinegar, a water pitcher for diluting the dye, and latex gloves.
To mix up colours, you can combine the dyes to make new colours, you can change the hues of those colours by mixing colours in different proportions, or by diluting them to varying degrees with water.  The possibilities are endless!  I had no idea what to do, so I mixed up some blue and pink and diluted them into three different concentrations each.

Prepped white wool, and three different concentrations of pink and blue.  Who thinks this will work out???  I did not have much faith.
 When we were ready to go, we put a plastic bag in a microwaveable dish and pulled up the center of the bag so that it made kind of a reverse donut, and we put the skein of yarn around the donut.  Then, you just kinda... go for it.  Pour and smush and blend and try not to make it super ugly.

Pouring and smushing.... hoping to god it's not awful.

Once you have poured and smushed etc.... you pull the bag up around the yarn, poke holes in the bag, close it, and throw it, dish and all, into a (dyeing-specific) microwave.  Don't use this microwave for food after!!  Microwave on high for four minutes.  The dye is heat activated, and won't set until it's been heated.  After four minutes, carefully open the bag and check to see if the yarn is still bleeding dye.  If it's not, pull it out, do the big reveal, cool it, wash it, and hang it out to dry. 
Me doing the big reveal.  "OH MY GOD I MADE IT HIDEOUS, I SUCK AT THIS"
Washed, dried, and hung out to dry.  Hopefully when I knit it up it actually looks like this was intentional.
 My first dye was a multi-colour dye, just for fun.  But we also did a plain one colour dye on an ugly old bunch of yarn (pic below).  The ugly old colour is the scrap on top.  We over-dyed it and made it vibrant and new!!
Much better now!
 Now... I will throw in some more misc pics to make this a really long blog.  Here is another round of dyeing in some totally different colours, as done by my aunt.

Adding the dye....
The big reveal!
Much nicer than plain white!!

Our resident artist for the day (aka mooman).

Mooman and poopap getting in the spirit. 

And of course, you couldn't possibly have a dyeing day without help from the resident mooch-face.

Dye, ready to go.  

The fruits of our labours for the day. 

And.... I made this at the Science Center (where I volunteer) that morning, so I just had to throw it in here. 

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