Sunday, January 18, 2009

To Dye For

Omigosh. How much fun is it to dye yarn? Lots! How scary is it to risk ruining the wool you spent hours spinning and plying? A bit...

My friend Mary and I have knitting and dyeing aspirations for the new year. Thanks to a couple Christmas gift certificates (thanks Connie and Mom!) I signed up for a beginning Fair Isle class at our wonderful local Churchmouse Yarn and Teas. I needed a few colored yarns for the class so I thought I'd try dyeing my yarn with Wilton Food Colors. They're concentrated, they're safe, they're color fast and they're cheap ($1.49 each at Wal Mart). What's not to like?
I started with Shetland roving I spun and triple-plied. I thought the grey wool would keep the colors a little muted. Yeah, right. Here's the yarn in a burgundy dyebath mixed with a little lemon yellow. I wasn't sure about it and almost threw it out but my 10 year old encouraged me to "be bold!" so I did and plunked my yarn in anyway. It's not the true red I was looking for but I like it. Look at the dye bath color opposed to the yarn color. Weird... The exhausted dyebath was totally green as I poured it down the sink.
This is Wilton's Royal Blue. I'm taking this off the heat now to cool. I think it's about done.
And this is Wilton's Lemon Yellow.

Here they are in the colander along with a ball of the undyed original grey yarn.

Here they are all done, cooled, rinsed and hung up to dry. They're a little bold for my taste and next time I will use less dye so the colors are a little softer but all in all I think they will be fun to work with. I think I'll dye another skein a little lighter shade of this blue and then I'll be done for my class. There are some great articles at Knitty about this process and I highly recommend them.
I encourage you to try this. It's really fun!


Storybook Woods said...

Yeah, you posted ;-P
It turned out pretty. It must have been hard to put that yarn you spun into dye. But just think how wonderful that you own each step. I can not wait to see it. Clarice

TroElli said...

You are so amazing!! I can't wait to see what those beautiful colors turn into. I'm excited to hear how the Fair Isle class goes - I think you'll take to Continental knitting like a duck to water. Keep on rockin', girl. oxox

Mary said...

Wow! These look terrific. Wilton's food colors?? I'm kicking myself right now because I just threw out a set of 12 I bought years ago when Caroline was doing a cake decorating class. I figured after 10 years it was likely they weren't good for human consumption. : ) Sad too, because I'd only used one or two of them.

So fun though, Angie! I can't wait to try this. As is the case with all of your creative endeavors, I feel priveleged to have been around watching the process. Every time I'm at your house and you're spinning that roving, it really makes me feel like we've shot back in time. It's a lovely feeling.

Thanks for sharing the process with us!

countrymouse said...

Angie--they're gorgeous! I love that it was the 10 year old encouraging you to be bold : ) Can't wait to see the completed project in person!!!

Rain said...

Smiles Angie,
It is so nice to see what you are up to. You are courageous and Bold in color and life.
Wishing you well.