Tuesday, June 14, 2011

2am ramblings

It's 2 am...well 2:26 to be more precise. I'm still up. I figured I'd be in bed by now. But...there was laundry to fold (crud, the towels are still in the dryer), knitting to do (got 2 more pattern repeats done, 16 to go!), and a bit of wool that was dyed today to be re-skeined.

I took what I had left of Patons natural (maybe a little less than half a skein) and dyed it in the crock pot with 2 packets of Tropical Punch Kool-aid and about a teaspoon of Wilton's sky blue. The result :

I'm hoping it's enough for a pair of newborn shorties, or a soaker at the very least.

My brain doesn't seem to realize that the rest of me is still awake. I'm pretty sure it's already upstairs and fast asleep. I think I'll let the rest of me go join it.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Crock pot dye job with Wiltons

I'm sharing this for my sister, who asked to see my process when I dye wool with my crock pot and Wilton's icing gels. I start by turning the ball of wool into a skein / hank. Now, I don't have a nifty yarn swift, or even a non-nifty one, so I wrapped my wool around 2 kitchen chairs. Sadly, I did not get a picture of this. The toddler was intent on helping me, so my skein is not very pretty.

Make sure to tie it loosely in 5-6 different places to keep it from tangling. Next, I shoved the whole thing into a bowl of lukewarm water with a tiny splash of vinegar added. The vinegar helps the fiber open up to receive dye. I don't soak for long...maybe 30 minutes.

I put a pot lid on top of the wool to keep it down in the water...it kept wanting to poof up. After I determined I'd waited long enough that a proper amount of time had passed, I gently (GENTLY) squeezed the water out of the wool and placed it back on the towel from the picture above. Then I rolled it up in the towel and had the toddler help me walk all over it to squeeze any excess water out. Next it was time to prepare my dye.

I'm using Wilton's Rose, Violet, Black, and Sky Blue. Yes I know purple and black break...I'm counting on it. I don't really measure the amount of dye I put in. The more dye you use, the more vibrant your color will be...however, there is such a thing as too much dye.

A healthy dollop will do...

 To each jar, I added a little bit of hot water. Wilton's icing gels need hot water to dissolve. After I've stirred long enough dissolved the colors in the water, I filled the jars up to the halfway point (okay I got pretty darn close) with more hot water. Now, since most of my colors in this experiment have red of some sort in them, I start off with a very small amount of vinegar in each jar...a teaspoon for the black, purple, and rose, and a tablespoon for the sky blue.

Next, place the jars in the crock pot as best as you can and fill the pot about halfway with hot water. Shove Gently feed your wool into the jars however you see fit.

Set your crock pot to...well...I don't know that part. I just put mine on the "high / 6 hours" setting. You can play around with it.

It's only been about 4 hours, and my wool is happily bathing away. The thing to remember about black and purple is that they're comprised of many different colors. Red takes a small amount of acid to soak up into the fiber, while blue and green need more. That's why I start off by adding only a small amount of vinegar. I went back around 30 minutes later and added more. Periodically, I took off the lid and added a little more depending on what color the water was.

Since it's only been 4 hours, my wool is still soaking in the jars. You need to wait until the water in your jars is clear before turning the pot off. Once that's done the really hard part comes....letting the wool sit there to cool down. You don't want to try to pick it up with your bare hands, it's HOT!! And, if you move wet wool around too much while it's hot, there's a good chance you're going to felt it...and then where will you be? huh? HUH?!

I'll add pictures after I decide it's been cooking long enough, or I get too bored. Last I looked, about 15 minutes ago, it was almost done. In the meantime, here are some links to other wool dying tutorials using kool-aid, food coloring, or icing gels...

Tutorial for handpainting with Wilton's
How to Dye self striping yarn
Ravelry - Dying black with Wilton's (if you're not a member of Ravelry you SHOULD be)

Okay, morning has come and the wool is dried. Something in it didn't set right because my hands are pink. Before I use it or sell it, I'll re-set the dye and see how that goes. I'm just adding the pictures from last night and this morning, explanation at this point is moot.