Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Mourning Dyeing

TUESDAY: I've had a very productive morning on day 2 of MY week. Today was officially designated "dyeing" day, and that is precisely what I did.

I did a bit of knitting early this morning. I threw the curtains open on the bay window because I was expecting a package I DID NOT want to miss. The girl who runs the wool coop I belong to said she was mailing off everyone's Peace Fleece order Monday, and if she did that, being she is in SA too, it should have been here today. Larger packages (and this one should be pretty darn large) usually come by postal courier, usually before 10AM. No such luck. If it's not here tomorrow, I will email her and see if there was a holdup. At any rate, massive dissapointment on my part. This is what I spent the money Chris' mom gave me for Christmas on, and I'm STILL waiting on it.

On the positive side, when the mail did run, at around noonish, I had the book I ordered from Colonial Lake books in the post. THAT was a nice surprise! Socks Soar on Circular Needles by Cat Bordhi is a book I've been wanting for quite some time, and had almost given up finding it in Australia, but her site has lots of cool knitting and crafty sorts of books that are hard to get elsewhere in Oz.

Anyway, between all the online ordering I've been doing, and the lovely RAOK's people have sent, I'm disappointed if a day goes by and I don't get something knitty in the post. Hopefully, tomorrow will be covered by the Peace Fleece.

So now, down to business. I had thrown my TeAwa wool in to soak yesterday afternoon, so I reckon by this morning it was good and wet.

I had also started winding my white Patonyle into skeins (although I don't think my skeining method is much good) around the dining room chair backs as well, and left the last ball about half wound over night (now THAT sight would have garnered a few smirks from the DH). I finished winding it this morning, tied it off, and when my head had been cleared with enough coffee, I set to work. It was going to be a circus act, balancing two dye job at once, and I needed all my wits about me.

I pulled out the TeAwa Natural wool, which was good and soaked, arranged my pots and jars and bottles and dyes and went to work.

(Wouldn't Chris LOVE seeing ME playing with DYE in HIS kitchen. I think NOT!)

I was NOT going to make a rainbow effect this time. My idea was to go for something more subtle with shading. My original vision was to do it in shades of blue, dark at one end of the skein and gradually getting lighter towards the other end, but I wasn't sure I had enough blue koolaid to pull this off (the skein being 200g). After I pulled out all the packets of Koolaid, for some reason, the yellow caught my eye, and a second vision was inspired. How about I start with dark blue, gradually add yellow to make turquoise, then green, then yellow-green and then yellow at the opposite end of the skein. I got started with this concept and started mixing colors. I wound up with 6 shades of blue to green and scratched the yellow idea. I just didn't want that "loud" of a color contrast, and I THINK I made the right decision for what I wanted to do today, although I think the yellow idea would be a good one down the track.

I dyed away, which went off with only one hitch. One of my gloves split, and I've wound up with one very blue/green right hand. I then stuck the lot into the microwave and "cooked" my yarn. While it was cooking, I took the opportunity to throw my Patonyle into the sink and start it to soaking. Then I took a break for awhile, letting the TeAwa cool and the Patonyle soak.

When I came back to my work, I first set up a pot to boil, put a frying pan screen over it and sat a steaming basket on top of the screen. Then I carefully wrapped the TeAwa up into the garbage bag it was lying on and laid it on the washer while I got the Patonlye out of the soak water, gently sqeezing out the excess water. Then I threw some soap into the soak water, worked up some suds and threw in the TeAwa.

I took the Patonyle to the table. My vision on this one was clear. I was going to "spot dye" this batch, using only one color, Koolaids Black Cherry, a deep red. Off I went, splashing dye here and there. What fun! And I love the way it looked afterwards. Can't wait to see how it looks to knit up. I particularly wanted some socks to go with my boating outfit, which is a red and white crew style shirt with white capri pants. I had thought of solid red, but knew it would be hard to exactly match the shirt. I had thought of red and white stripes, but I really am not a fan of stripes. The spotty dyeing seems the perfect answer. I suppose I'll know for sure once it dries.

When I finished the spot dyeing, I threw the skeins (one at a time due to lack of room) into the improvised steamer, and set the timer for 8 minutes. I kept the pot of water underneath at just a simmer to keep things from getting too hot, and flipped the skein halfway thru.

Meanwhile, while the Patonyle was steaming, I took the TeAwa out of the wash water, drained it, and ran the rinse water. Then I put it in, rinsed it well, and hung it in the bathroom over the bathtub faucet.

By then, I was letting the Patonyle cool down to room temperature, changing out the wash water and then washing, rinsing and hanging the Patonyle.

Everything looks pretty darn great, if I do say so myself. More or less just as I'd invisioned. If I have one complaint, I wish I had used a bit less red on the Patonyle. But then again, we'll have to wait and see how that goes when I start knitting it up.

Now, what to do this afternoon? Well, I'm for sure going to knit more on my sock project. I might even pick up the jumper and do a few more exhausting rows. But absolutely, no excuses, I'm going to practice my spinning. I want to spin up the rovings a workmate gave me a couple weeks ago, but I want to get the feel of the wheel again before I give the good stuff a go. It's been almost a month since I've touched it. I really should do more spinning. I'm sure I will love it to peices if I can only get used to the process.


she knits said...

That is lovely, I cant wait to see how it looks knitted up. I have never seen or felt patonyle. Is it as wonderful as everyone thinks? What is Te awa wool?
Kindest regards, mel

Button said...

Hi Mel,

I LOVE Patonyle. It's a very soft, fluffy texture, and you cant really see the plying. It doesn't split at all, even worked on tiny needles. Well, not for me anyway. And it took that dye so very well!

TeAwa Natural Wools is a brand of wool made in NZ. It comes in 200g hanks and costs around $15, which is pretty reasonable for a good wool.

I have some in my stash on Ravelry. I've dyed both hanks now, but there's still the "before" picture there.


Anonymous said...

This is the best one yet! I agree with Me, I can hardly wait to see the finished dyed yarn on the needles!! I plan to mail about another 120 pks. of Kool Aid to you no later than tomorrow. I recieved your list, so today I am off to my Kool Aid shopping spree!(The poor clerks always have to ask) "Uh..may I ask you???" They can't believe my story, I don't think! How many people in their right minds buy 100+ packs of Kool Aid, Unsweetened, and NO Sugar! Ha.
Love Ya Bunches, MOM

Button said...

Thanks mom! You made me laugh at the picture of you buying all that Koolaid. Over here, in the knitting community, it's a prized commodity, and I appreciate you doing this very much!