dye job

June 5, 2010 at 21:38 3 comments

they discontinued my favourite yarn about a year ago.  that’s a big deal for a yarn geek like myself, and i’ve been searching local yarn shops for any remnant of it since.  unsuccessfully, i might add.  the yarn: filatura di crosa, 127 print.  a good measure of how much i loved it, is that it was $10 US a skein and i still paid it.  plus shipping.
i found a bunch of it on ravelry, but after contacting the sellers and discussing shipping, it was just going to be way too expensive for someone married to derek.
so my solution was to dye my own.  there were many reasons not to do this but i decided to take a chance and see what happened.

step 1: order a skein of bare superwash from knitpicks, and read this tutorial every day until it arrived.  first order of business was to loop it (literally) from one end of the house to the other in order to mimic the pattern repeats of the 127 print.  then i tied it off every 16 inches (roughly) and used a different colour of ties to mark where the colour belonged.  then i soaked it all night in a bucket of water & vinegar mix.
step 2:  clean the house so that i have room to lay out my massive loop of yarn and dye it.  you can see the steps in the tutorial, so i’m not going to go all specific on you.   i’d read on a few other websites that my water needed to be hot before dissolving the gel food colouring in it, so   i nuked a bunch of water and then made several mugs of colour.
stirring with a fork is more efficient than with a spoon.step 3: dyeing!  the moment i’d been waiting for had finally arrived!  i started with the black since it was my dominant colour (not shown here, i used a huge measuring cup for that one).  i had a full cup of black mixed up, but i’ll have to make more than that if i do this colourway again because i really shouldn’t have had to skimp on the dye).  i had plenty of the other colours though, and i’d only done about half a cup of each.

step 4: baking.  after it was all coloured i wrapped it tightly in the plastic wrap and threw it in the oven.  i was pretty paranoid that all of my hard work was going to end up a mass of melted plastic wrap and dye, but i checked on it often and it was fine.  in case anyone out there is wondering; i used kirkland wrap (the stuff from costco) and only set my oven at 200˚.  i don’t think that i would do the full 250˚ after seeing how soft the plastic became, but 2 hours at 200˚ was good.

step 5:  the reveal!  this was my favourite part!  after the baking and the cooling, i cut the plastic wrap off of my yarn and revelled in the brilliant colours that had been soaked into the yarn.  i definitely noticed spots where i could have used more dye, and that’s a problem that i’ll solve next time.
after i washed the yarn and squashed the water out, i hung it up to dry in the dining room and listened to my kids “ooh” and “ahh” over how cool it was.  quite gratifying.
drying step 6:  the worst part!  untangling all of my (now dry) wool and skeining it.  despite the millions of ties that i used to prevent the problem, i still had some huge knotting issues.  i’m chalking that up to two things:  inexperience and a sickly huge loop to achieve my colourway.  pretty sure that a more traditional loop of yarn (one that wasn’t the size of a house) would have been more cooperative.
final productdyeing the yarn was seriously an all day job, but a creative one and i rather enjoyed it (except for untangling 220 yards of wool).  did i successfully recreate filatura di crosa 127 print?  no.  unfortunately, not on my first try.  but neither did i create an unusable mass.  the colours in this skein are really bright and not as muted as in my favourite yarn, but i’m still happy with the results.  i’m also satisfied with the lessons i learned here and i’m looking forward to the next dyeing experience.  i have some undyed philosopher’s wool in my knitting stash that’s just begging to be experimented on!


Entry filed under: knitting, making stuff.

trying new stuff: impatient

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jennifer Heemskerk  |  June 6, 2010 at 21:36

    An enjoyable read indeed! You are definitely one of my most colourful friends! Your yarn looks gorgeous and I can’t wait to see what you make with it!

  • 2. impatient « bononers  |  June 7, 2010 at 11:31

    […] i have a lot of projects in my knitting queue, but that shiny new ball of hand-painted was taunting me and i just couldn’t wait any longer to see how it would knit up.   so i made […]

  • 3. Bernadette  |  June 15, 2010 at 12:23

    I posted your blog on my blog now :). I just wanted to give you a heads up :D.


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