Too Much Water

My aunt and I decided to dye some machine-spun sock yarn in lovely shades of turquiose, chestnut, and pink. (At some point those were really trendy colors, but I don’t keep track of those things.)

The Colors

The Colors


We found this great tutorial on a way to rainbow-dye the yarn in a pot, and it takes only thirty minutes of cooking time! Add that to a thirty minute pre-soak for the yarn, and maybe ten minutes to mix up the dyes, and it’s really quick. When I oven-dye roving it has to cook for an hour.

We bought the yarn from Paradise Fibers. It’s a superwash wool/bamboo blend in fingering weight. During the pre-soak it looked like spaghetti.

We had two skeins of yarn, so we wanted to do one in the turquoise/chestnut/pink, and the other one in purples. We started with the turquoise mix.

Lighter Colorway

Lighter Colorway

The tutorial says to squeeze most of the water out of the yarn, but you don’t want to squeeze out too much or the yarn will steam itself dry and scorch. We decided to play it safe. Big mistake. We put some water in the pot with the yarn—not a lot; just enough to sort of cover the bottom. What we forgot is that you pre-mix the dye powders with water and vinegar before pouring them onto the yarn, so more water is being added.

The Wet Skeins Drying

The Wet Skeins Drying

The chestnut dye loved all the extra water to play in and promptly swirled about into places it shouldn’t have gone. The other two colors followed suit. We remove some of the extra dye by soaking it into dry paper towels, which pulled the dye around even more. The final product wasn’t bad at all; it just was much paler and blended than we had expected. You can see the color differences in the brown at the top and bottom of the picture to the left.

I don’t think the difference in yarn-saturation was much more than a half cup of water, but that made a big difference. Lesson learned! In this scenario less is definately more. Another interesting thing—on the bottom brown you can see where the turquoise and the chestnut mingled and made a blueish green! I would never have thought to mix those to get green. Apparently there was some yellow in the brown. The green color is really beautiful. I’m keeping this in mind for another dyeing project. (Thankfully I got some undyed superwash Merino yarn at a yarn shop today. Now I just have to decide when to have some fun.)

We had extra dye left from the first batch, so we decided to try to do the second skein in the same colorway, but hopefully with the colors holding their places. Here is the result! Pretty, isn’t it?

The Darker Colors

The Darker Colors

If you’re wondering about the balls, yes, we wound them on the new center-pull ball winder.

The Finished Skeins

The Finished Skeins

The second ball (the one on the left) got away from us and started winding with really loose tension. We had to take it off the winder, unwrap some of it, then try to stick it back on the winder and wind it with a tighter tension. The result is a little . . . odd. Sort of a smashed ball shape. Maybe a fat hockey puck.

3 Responses to Too Much Water
  1. Sarah
    October 11, 2008 | 10:54 am

    Those turned out neat! It will be interesting to see how they look once they are made into socks.

  2. Dragonbard
    October 13, 2008 | 9:28 pm

    Dying is such an uncertian adventure! I sure had fun with my attempts so far, and I only got what I wanted once or twice. (By the way, I’m the only who sent DragonKeeper yarn to the Moot!) Are you planning to sell your yarn on Etsy?

  3. Rebekah
    October 14, 2008 | 4:44 pm

    Oh, hello! I love your yarn. :)

    Yes, I’ve thought about it. It seems that there are so many yarns and fibers for sale on Etsy, my stuff would get a bit lost. I need to come up with something that would set it apart and make people want to buy it. (About which I have been racking my poor little brain for quite awhile.)

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://maidenyarn.com/2008/10/too-much-water/trackback/