mid’s mother gave me a box full of yarn about a week ago. most of the yarn is left over from projects that she completed in the past. the skein on the top of the box was a full skein of fishermen’s wool (lion brand). i’ve been wanting to try dyeing fishermen’s wool for awhile now (or is it fisherman’s wool? well it doesn’t make that much of a difference).
i got out of work early christmas eve and a coworker drove me home, which gave me several hours worth of time before bedtime to play with dyeing.
i’ve been playing around with sock knitting (yes. let me repeat that statement for the 18th time this month in this blog…) and i’ve been wanting to play around with knitting heavier socks to wear with my boots. i normally dye for warmer colors, for whatever reason but an informal poll of facebook friends and coworkers leaned in the direction of the cooler tones.
at one point my mother had a full set of enameled cookware from oneida, and when she upgraded to a new set of cookware i snagged the stockpot. originally i wanted it to make chili. it’s a good size to dye yarn in*.
i normally kettle dye in solid colors, but i wanted to try for a varigated yarn. i also normally dye in the crockpot, but in this case the wool wouldn’t fit (i dyed an 8 oz skein). so i skeined up the wool and left it to soak for half an hour** in a solution of vinegar, salt and water*** in the same pot that i dyed the wool in.
i used every available non metallic container i could find to hold the mixed koolaide in until the yarn was ready to be dyed. these were just mixed with water. see the nice white noodle stirrer? yeah, it’s not white anymore. i would also suggest using a normal plastic or wooden spoon if you have it-unless you’re trying to manhandle the yarn a little, which i was.
after the yarn had soaked i dumped the koolaide over the wool and placed the pot over medium-high heat, letting it come to a boil and then cooking the wool for half an hour.
at which point i noticed the inevitable while turning the skein over for color distribution- it had turned into a muddy, washed out mess.
i keep food coloring and frosting dyes around just to play with. they can create a deeper color than koolaide but they do require a slighter higher level of work. while poking around for more koolaide to overdye this mess with, i found a tin of royal blue wilton’s frosting dye.
half a tin of dye later, the yarn is finally a respectable color.
however, i overloaded the wool so after another hour of cooking i just took it off the heat, strained it, and washed it.
i did shock this batch. i don’t normally, but i wanted this yarn slightly felted for wear. i dumped it out of the pot before the water cooled and then hit it with cold water out of the tap.
*always dye in non-metallic cookware. it doesn’t react to the dyes.
**wool takes 20 minutes of soaking to be fully wet. it’s best to soak for longer stretches of time, but i’m both impatient and interested in seeing how wool takes dye after different soaking times.
***i add vinegar when dyeing with koolaid and frosting dyes out of habit. koolaide technically doesn’t need it, but the frosting dyes do. salt helps blues and greens take without breaking and take easier in general.