Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Dyeing at Long Last

At long last I got on with some dyeing today. I decided to start with self striping yarn for socks and chose four jewel colours of emerald, ruby, sapphire and amethyst. I now have very pink hands and some lovely yarn drying in the shed/studio.

This is the table, covered with a house-painting drop sheet. On the drop sheet are long stretches of gladwrap. (Gladwrap ended up being the most costly item, because self-striping yarn done in a 40m skein needs 40m of gladwrap) The yarn is placed across the gladwrap and painted with suitable dyes, then wrapped up in wrap and put in the bucket.

You can see in the second picture that I have just finished the green/emerald stripe. 40m of yarn for four colours, means paint a quarter of the yarn in each colour. I had the ruler handy to check the lengths. Wrap each section in gladwrap and proceed.

When it is all done put it in a plastic zip-lock bag with a bit of the zip open and steam it or microwave it. Steam for 20 minutes or microwave for 2 minutes, then rest and cool then 2 minutes more. Microwaving is more risky so watch it carefully and keep sniffing in case you get a whiff of burning wool! DH asked me what I was cooking because I don't think he fancied it for tea.

When it is cool, rinse each section and then press out moisture in a towel and hang to dry. I shall wind the balls tomorrow. If I wind half of it in one ball and then start the next ball with the same colour, I should have two matching balls of self-striping sock yarn. I counted the skein rounds as I went and did 42 so the sums should be easy!

I shall have to make an effort to finish the second red sock first. Can't have two pairs of socks on the go at once. Can I?

Handling the long skein can be a bit of a problem. I wound it, originally from a cheap ball of Bendigo machine washable 4ply/fingering from one door handle to another at the end of the passage. This worked well but be careful not to cross over the yarn! This can result in an unseemly display of tears for someone my age.

Tomorrow, I shall look for some well placed door handles again and walk back and forth and be a lot more careful. Now is not the time to bugger it all up. I could hand wind it but I think I'll niddy-noddy it as I walk, then put it on the swift and use the ball winder so that it looks more professional for pics.

My next dyeing will also be stripes but I smugly thought that a double ended skein would be fine for make two matching balls and now I realise that separating it afterwards into two balls will indeed, be tricky. Serves me right but I'm still thinking it over and may even follow advice and get another ball-winder. I must admit I would have bought another one long ago but couldn't think of a reason for having it! Also I shall have to teach DH how to use it and wind at the same speed as me. At the moment, that's the best idea, thanks Taphophile.

It all takes a lot more time than I thought so off now to make tea

Cheers for now to all out there


  • What beautiful colors! I can't wait to see it wound together!

    By Blogger Heide, At 7:39 AM  

  • Hi Gillian, Thanks for the link. I haven't had a chance to browse through it yet. I tried to e-mail you yesterday but it would not go through. I noted in your last post that you have a ball winder. Are they good for winding cotton skeins, and if so, where did you buy yours. I have some wool that I would like wound up and I would like to buy one. Any advice would be helpful.

    By Blogger sue, At 4:53 PM  

  • I couldn't live without my ball winder, even though I was robbed when I bought it. I used to buy left over cones and combine the strands on the winder and now I'm using it for the dyed skeins.
    Do you want to borrow it to try it out?
    Cheers Gillian

    By Blogger ferg, At 2:44 PM  

  • Wow! I need to try dying striping yarn...

    I love my ball winder but I need to get a swift. I've separated double stranded balls of yarn before and it always ended up twisting tightly and causing, er, what was it you called it: "unseemly displays of tears"... I think using a swift would be a much better solution.

    If you don't end up with a second ball winder you could always just pull the ends apart off the skein and make 2 piles on the floor. If you don't disturb the piles of yarn you should be able to wind them with the ball winder with minimal tears.

    By Blogger lori, At 8:42 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home