I learned a lot along the way with this dye project! I am so glad that I had to dye so many different skeins in short succession, because I was able to morph my technique over time.
My first skein in this project, I already blogged about it here: A lesson in bouncing back from an Epic Fail.
What I learned?? Don't leave a project on the stove, even if the heat is turned off.. if you want it to look the same when you return. Also, capillary action
(ie: wicking) is a powerful thing... the red #3 dye managed to make it past the mason jar lid into the "natural" jar... and I screwed that sucker down tight before I left.
After the skein was dry, I realized that my fun idea of making the striping pattern completely random, was not the best plan after all. I probably spent more than an hour detangling that skein into a ball so that I could put it on my Niddy Noddy to make a skein... and then eventually wind it into a cake with a swift & ball winder.. Yeah, that process was labor intensive.
But even with all the craziness that went into the yarn, the finished product is beautiful. Emily as already knitted it up into the Baby Booga Bag... oh, and it is soo pretty!! I can't wait to see it after it is felted.
But I digress.. I learned a whole lot during the next several skeins... that I could probably write a book on the subject (well, maybe a pamphlet). Anyway, here is a summary of my conclusions:
1) Dye wicks well... really well. If you are dying self striping yarn, figure out some way to elevate the strands going between the jars. I found that a clean tall energy drink can filled with water was skinny enough to fit between the jars in my large water bath, but only worked well with up to about 6 strands sitting on top. Any more color changes than that, and the strands would droop down, leading to a wicking nightmare.
Alternatively, dye one section at a time, and use something else that is tall to drape the yarn over... I finally had the process down for my last skein and got little wicking!!
2) The more concentrated the dye is, the longer it takes to exhaust the bath. In the above picture I'm dying about 115 yds of fisherman's wool orange. The process took about more than an hour, but was totally worth it.
3) DON'T use a random stripe generator, and follow what it says, unless you are prepared to spend more than an hour untangling the mess once the yarn is dry. You'll have to wind the yarn into a ball before making it into a pretty skein.
4) Even if you keep all your colors in order, you might still have to resort to winding a ball first. In order to avoid this mess, spend some extra time and make sure that each section is put back on the warping board in the same order and direction you used before dying.
5) If you want to wind your yarn directly onto a niddy noddy, it helps if each loop around the warping board goes in the same direction.
6) You can become completely addicted to dying yarn... and might even be tempted to dye 360 yards into a beautiful turquoise for a massive color-work project to celebrate your best friend's pregnancy with her first child....
And because it *is* a color work project, you must dye similar quantities of other colors to complete the project. Yes, I'm nuts. LOL
7) Sometimes it is best to leave the yarn in the dye bath overnight (after turning off the heat) to try to absorb the rest of the dye. Then, to set the dye, I put the yarn in a baking dish, and put in a cold oven to let it warm up as the oven was preheating. Following this process, the only time I had dye come out in the rinse water was with the most saturated yarns.
8) There are completely legal reasons why one might want to have a fume hood
installed in their home.
With out further ado... here are the 7 skeins of yarn, each color combination chosen by a student in my knitting class
p.s. Extra bonus points if you can tell me where I got the title for this post. :)