Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I've Been a Busy Girl!

OH my gosh you guys! Today was the last day of my long weekend and I got to spend the whole day at home playing with yarn! First of all, let me back up to last night.

I didn't mention my new ball winder in yesterday's post because I thought it deserved a post all by itself. I can not tell you guys how cool this thing is and how easy it is making my life! Here's the picture of the version that I bought from Knit Picks. This was about half the price of any of the others I found, but I knew I'd have to pay shipping. I thought I may as well buy yarn too and get up to $50 so the shipping is free 'cause it's kinda like you're getting free yarn then. hehe

It's sitting mounted in it's permanent location on the side of my desk. And boy has it been broken in! hehe I started last night with the large skein of yarn I had dyed successfully a few days ago. This was probably a mistake because the skein itself was pretty messy and very tangley. Mr. Pie ended up getting a shot of me creating my first "cake" :

That took a long time and was very tedious. lol Going around and around in a circle on my desk chair, foot on the yarn so it didn't pull up and get tangled worse. BUT it was worth it, because it turned in to THIS:

Num num num.

After that success, there was no holding me back! I started turning anything in sight in to a ball. Then I got out one of the two identical red turtleneck sweaters that I bought and went to town. It was so thrilling to watch the yarn from the sweater flying out and in to a ball! I have no idea how many yards I have from that sweater, but it's a LOT. AND I have a second sweater the exact same colour still yet to frog! I was on a roll, is what I'm sayin'. Not to be stopped, Mr. Pie and I put on a pot of chai tea and I started taking apart that cream coloured angora/nylon blend sweater that I bought for 50 cents from the neighbor's garage sale. By around midnight, this is what the stack beside my desk looked like:

After reading up on the subject a little, I learned that nylon behaves very similarly to protein fiber and therefore can be dyed with regular food colouring and kool aid, like my other yarn. An idea was hatched. I finished taking apart the angora blend sweater in to pieces but waited on frogging it, deciding to try my hand at some garment dying. This is where you dye a finished piece of fabric and then frog it afterward. I was looking for a way to get a really cool light to dark gradient through an entire skein of yarn and not as a pattern repeat in stripes. Does that make sense?

With that idea in mind, my day ended up here, with all parts and pieces of the recycled sweater dyed and hanging to dry:

I took this liberty to experiment a whole lot with different dyeing methods and also with both food colouring and Kool Aid combined. As much for myself and my own records as for your benefit, I'll tell you what I did and how I did it. hehe

This was the first of the gradient garment dyes! I haven't skeined up any of the others but I wanted you to see the colour differences. When it's in a ball, it just looks like this:

You can see that it's the darker green in the middle and then it goes to lighter green on the outside, but you can't really see the different shades side by side.

Okay, so for this one that I started out (after letting it soak, of course) with the whole sleeve of the sweater in my pot on the stove along with one pack of lemon-lime kool aid. I let that get up to temperature (just before boiling, no bubbles) and let it sit for a few minutes, then I pulled the whole thing out and put it on a plate. The water was almost clear. I added a few drops of green food colouring, then put most of the sleeve back in, leaving out the tip. I repeated this process, lifting out the sleeve, adding more green, and then putting in a little less of the sleeve than was in before. I got the darkest green by adding just a touch of grape kool aid along with more green dye for the last step.

I really like these colours together, don't you? The brown reminds me of a great worn in leather, and the blue-green really reminds me of turquoise. Anyway. lol The brown I garment dyed with straight food colouring exactly like how I explained above. I followed the recipe for the brown colour on the package: 5 drops green, 3 drops red, 6 drops yellow. The turquoise colour I did just an all over dye by putting a tad more blue than green and submerging the whole thing and just leaving it alone. I'm thinking I might want to try some "fake isle" technique with these.

With this one I tried something totally different. This piece of the sweater was the cowl neck part and it was very long and knit in the round. I put half the fabric in a drinking glass (about 8 oz) with one pack of grape off brand kool aid, and the other side in a glass with a pack of dark cherry kool aid. I had to dip the center part in a bit of both so it was wet and coloured, then I put it in the microwave for two minutes. I waited for it to cool almost completely (that took quite a while) and then I rewetted the center section and went for another two minutes. The results are very pretty, I think. In person I don't think it's nearly as purple as the photo came out and much more reddish. I don't know what I'll use this for but I like it.

Now I just have to see if there's room in my stash for all this yarn! SQUEE! :D


  1. Very fun!!! I was thinking about getting a knit picks ball winder, but I thought I needed the swift too (No way I can cough up $70 for both). Your idea is great though, so now I'm definitely gonna get one with my next Knit Picks order.

  2. Now you need a swifter.
    Your yarn colors are beautiful!

  3. WONDERFUL idea! I'm going to have to try that!