Sunday, July 25, 2010

Up to dyeing!

It's been almost two weeks now since my surprise appendicitis (is any appendicitis not a surprise?) and although everything is healing, I feel good, and everybody is getting back into our normal routines, I still have to take it easy. Even minimally invasive surgery is still surgery and it takes time to recover. I'm saying this not to be Captain Obvious or obtuse but to remind and convince myself just as much as to remind everybody reading along!

The day of my follow-up with the surgeon I decided to dye some wool and celebrate my permission to lift ten pounds again. In my dyeing experiments thus far, I've only used food coloring and other edible dyes and mordants. I'm certainly no expert and sort of get what I get! So I was playing with black food coloring and trying to "break" the dye on purpose using a lot of vinegar in the pot. Colors like black are achieved in food coloring by mixing other colors together, so in breaking it I wanted to separate those colors back out. Sometimes dyes break on their own, too - I've had blue and violet break on me before.

This time I used a lot of food coloring (dissolved into hot water) and put all of the wool in the pot at once, after soaking for a few hours in water and vinegar. I usually dye on the stove top, heating the water and vinegar in the pot with the yarn and food coloring but not all the way to boiling. The color goes into the fibers and eventually the water is clear. This is called exhausting the dye. The heat sets the color in the yarn. Well, this time the wool and water was hot for a while and the water was still nowhere near clear, so I wound off some more wool, tied it into a skein, and added it to the pot dry to exhaust the dye.

As it turns out, the dye did break but the original yarn had already absorbed all the dye it could. So the second skein absorbed what was left, which was.... well, see for yourself.

This was the original skein. It's a deep purpley red, maybe reddish purple, and black.

Godric's Hollow Worsted weight 100% wool, 100g/200yards

This was the second skein. It started much brighter and greyed as it stayed in the pot. The purple splotches were an unexpected, but interesting and welcome, surprise.

Luna Lovegood Worsted weight 100% wool 63g/125yards

Yes, these two skeins came out of the same pot. Amazing, isn't it?


The dyepot of mystery and enchantment.

What's in the dyepot?

The names come from this month's prompts in the Inspired Dyeing group on Ravelry. The yarn actually came before the prompts in this case, but they were just right.

I haven't decided what to do with these skeins just yet. Any thoughts?

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