09 April 2017

Dye Tins for April

As I mentioned previously, April is a time of firsts for me.  New techniques, yarns, dyeing experiments, classes etc.  My plan is to use this yarn for my initiate knit challenge.  I was /am envisioning a shawl with a deep purple as the main colour with an orange overdyed with green variegated contrast colour.  As everyone knows, the results can be different than your inner vision.  And that was the case here.  I definitely have some super happy accidents, and not what I envisioned with either case.

I headed to my LYS Pretty Skeins to pick Heidi's brain (who is the owner) for fibre types to use etc.  Also for a little show and tell and help me type talk regarding my shawl.  LOL  She is awesome and I just love her to pieces.  Always willing to help and encourage - isn't that great!  Well I told her what I wanted to do and what I needed.

I would prefer a yarn with a nylon content as I wouldn't have to worry as much about felting my yarn.  While I could dye fabric with my eyes closed, I'm no where near that proficient with yarn dyeing.  I was looking for 4 skeins in a DK weight that had 10 - 20% nylon content.

She could help with 2 skeins of a DK, but that was all she had.  Another lady just bought up all her white DK.   DRAT!!!  So - I guess I'm doing fingering then LOL  After a lot of discussion and oooh and ahhhing and loving the squishyness, I walked out with 4 skeins of white yarn; 2 each of Sandnes Garn Sisu and Sandnes Garn 100% Alpakka - yes you read that right  100% Alpaca.   As well as a Malabrigo Lace for a test knit I'm doing later this month / early next, and ArneCarlos designed Regia sock yarn.  I just LOVE LOVE LOVE those guys.  I want to be adopted or at the very least be a neighbour with drop in privileges LOL

I went with a kettledyed approach as I LOVE LOVE LOVE tonal yarns and I had 3 dyes / paints that would look perfect together.  First in was the purple, then the pink, followed up by violet paint and a pink metallic paint.  Since I don't have a separate stainless steel pot to dye in, I picked up 2 foil bake pans that I thought would work well.  I did a double boiler type of arrangement where I rested the bake tin on the pot with water that had reached a low boil in it.  It worked amazingly well. for both of them.

I'm still getting my feet wet with dyeing yarn, and I'm using the Dylon Dye packs that I picked up for fabric as the manufacturer says it works with wool. My first dyeing attempt proved that this dye can be used with yarn.  I get a bit concerned doing it this way, as everyone says you need acid to set the colours as well as heat - hence they are called acid dyes, but it still makes me think I forgot something.  Well Dylon uses salt to set the dyes.  And heat - with these particular dyes, after rinsing, you put your dyed item in your washing machine on hot water.  Ya, I'm NOT going to do that with wool . oh hellz no - my washer would look like a sheep exploded in it - no matter how many ties I put into my hank LOL.  So I use the salt it states and the amount of dye it states based on a lot of math and the weight of my dry yarn, All three times I've ended up with unused dye and no other yarn to put in to use it all up .. grrrr - adjustments and learning .. adjustments and learning.  I will use much less powder next time.  I can always add more dye if it's too light or absorbed it all up before I'm happy with the colour.

So with my makeshift double boiler, foil baking tins, wool, dyes and fabric paint I was set for my own version of mad scientist type experiments LOL

I hit major twit mode when I started the orange.  My original plan was to do orange and then overdye sections of it green.  My mind went what am I thinking, that will not give me green but various shades of browny colour with overtones of green and orange.  So while my mind was in the right place, apparently my hands didn't get the message and put all the orange dye in all over the yarn instead of half  .. I'm such a twit!  So I added the green and went heavy with it in areas that the orange hadn't hit and encouraged it to hit the yarn that much quicker.  And adding more dye a bit later to hopefully encourage it to take up more green dye.  I could tell by looking at it that this wasn't going to have as much green as I hoped or wanted, so that would make these skeins not really usable with the purple as was my intention.  That's okay.  It's a very happy accident and I did learn quite a bit!

I did learn a number of things here.  I will NEVER I repeat NEVER dye alpaca again.  As soon as I put in the water to soak it, it stunk to high heaven like a burnt animal hair.  I could NOT believe how nasty it smelled.  I couldn't believe how something so squishy and wonderful to knit and wear, could smell so awful when submerged in water.  Just plain water - nothing else in it.  While it was drying I was constantly separating out the separate yarn threads as it seemed to want to clump together.  This alpaca actually is actually superwash.  The manufacturer says it can go in the washer up to 30 Celsius. (86 Fahrenheit) that was the only reason I attempted to dye it.
From their website:
Garnet kan maskinvaskes på ullprogam, 30 grader.
The yarn can be machine-washed at ullprogam, 30 degrees. 
That was the closest I could get the translator to go and I got the basic gist of what it said.  I am going to guess that ullprogam is delicate or something along those lines
I did not get as dark of a purple as I wanted.  This picture is several shades lighter than it looks in real life.  There is a lot of pink in it, more than I thought I had put in.  It's still a very rich colour with subtle shadings of purple all the way through to pink.  This was a super nerve wracking yarn to dye and I doubt I'll do it again until I get more knowledge and experience under my belt.  I bet you 10:1 that I did something that terrifies more knowledgeable dyers LOL   Only because I don't know enough to know better.  I'm still going to use in my initiate knit challenge - just won't be using the other yarn as I had planned.  I've got 328 yards of this and that's more than enough for a small shawl /shawlette wrap type thing.
Now the orange was definitely a happy accident and I just love the autumnal colourway I got.  This started out as Sandes Garn Sisu which I have used before for heels toes in socks.  it's 80% wool 20% nylon.  I've no clue what type of wool it is - it's not alpaca though LOL  It did not smell like burnt pet hair when it got wet.  It definitely is superwash so I was much more aggressive when I was handling it when I was dyeing.  Not that I was treating it like I was doing a taffy pull, but I had no fear moving the yarn around in the bake tin and lifting bits of it up to get the dye to flow around areas more.  Not sure what this will grow up to be, but I'm not thinking socks as I want to show off what I've created - this is 383 yards - more yardage that what I've got in the Mini Alapakka version.  This could also be a shawl - a small one, but it could be one
I loved dyeing both of these even though the Mini Alapakka was giving me minor heart failures as I was terrified I was felting it LOL  I learned so much from my mistakes and from using more than one dye at a time.  I will do this again, not as soon as I would like to though.  I'm trying not to go to crazy on building a stash and am trying to knit from it - I'm doing okay on that front.  It's great that I'm doing this as when I'm ready to make a cardigan or sweater for myself, I know I will be able to dye sweaters worth of yarn