Well, maybe disaster is a rather strong word but that is certainly what it felt like yesterday, a complete disaster. Thankfully I remained calm.
It started with a vision I have had for some yarn to dye. I have had several successes with dip dyeing yarn using Wilton food coloring gels. I used the article at Knitty as a guide for how to do it. The results were very impressive on two skeins of yarn that I dyed. One skein was dip dyed in purple (that I’m knitting up into a diaper soaker) and another in blue (that is being knitted into a pair of socks for my oldest son). So impressive were the results, that I started envisioning dip dyeing some yarn using pink. I have wanted to knit up some pink diaper soaker pants for Princess A and thought they would be so cute dyed this way. With the purple and blue skeins, I gradually pulled yarn out of the dye bath so each section grew darker and darker the longer it was in the dye. I envisioned doing the same with the pink. I pictured the first section being white because I was not going to put that in the dye at all. Then the next section would be faintly pink followed by a slightly darker pink, then a little darker and so on and so on.
So, I prepared my skein, let it soak for several hours in water and began to prepare the dye. I did not feel like staining my crock-pot up so I prepared the dye bath in my pot that I have designated for dyeing. (The Knitty article tells you how to dip dye using a crock-pot but you can use the stove as long as you are careful about not letting the dye bath and yarn come to a boil.) I mixed a decent sized dollop (didn’t really measure it, just eyeballed it, it was probably about ½ teaspoon) of pink food coloring gel with boiling water and added it to my pot that contained 8 cups of water and 1 cup of vinegar. Once the water was just below a simmer I dipped all but a handful of the yarn into the dye and held it there for a minute or so. When I lifted some of it out of the dye I gasped. It was insanely hot pink. I’m talking florescent hot pink. It was so unbelievably hot pink that you wanted to grab your sunglasses to prevent your eyes from watering. It actually hurt to look at it. It was nothing at all like my vision! But thankfully, I stayed calm and did not let myself get too upset after all it was only 280 yards of merino wool right?
Instead of throwing the yarn down and running out of the kitchen crying, I thought about the color wheel. Red and blue make purple right? Well, what if I were to add some blue food coloring to the dye pot and add the yarn back in? Sort of like overdyeing. So, once again I mixed up a dollop of dye, this time blue, with boiling water and added it to the pot. I dipped in half the yarn and when I took it out to check it was a cranberry maroon color. Not too bad, so I left that half in a little longer. While that half soaked I mixed up some purple food coloring gel with boiling water. I then took out the half that was now definitely maroon and set it in a bowl to cool. I added the dissolved purple dye to the pot followed by the other half of the skein that was still the awful hot pink. This half also included the part of the skein that I had left undyed- it was going to be dyed now. When I checked this half it had turned a nice shade of reddish purple, not maroon though. The thing that surprised me was the end of the skein that was previously left undyed. It ended up being dyed a periwinkle blue. Very pretty. So pretty in fact that I saved the rest of the dye bath because there was still a lot of dye left in the pot and I thought I could try dyeing a whole skein with it the next day which is exactly what I did today.
Below is a picture of the disaster yarn. I have to say, I am very surprised by the results. It is absolutely nothing at all like I had day dreamed about but I still really like it and I am still going to make some diaper soaker pants (or longies as they are known to be) out of it. The skein I dyed from the left over dye is still drying. It turned out equally as nice. I will try to post a picture of it once it is dry. Also here is a picture of the blue yarn that I dip dyed using the Wilton food coloring being knitted into a pair of socks.