Thursday, March 13, 2014

Rainbow Dyed Long Gradient

Sock blanks are machine knit tubes created out of sock yarn to use as dyeing tools.  Frequently these blanks are knit with two strands of sock yarn together so when you dye your blank in any pattern you will be able to get matching socks.  I'm not a big sock knitter, so I decided to create some of my own blanks using a hand crank knitting machine.  Today I'm going to demonstrate handpainting this blank into self striping yarn (a long rainbow gradient) with KoolAid using 100g of KnitPick palette yarn in a blank.  (You can read more about my knitting machine here.)

The Plan, Dissolve 1 packs of 6 KoolAid Colors into 1/3 cup of water each. We used Cherry, Orange, Lemonade, Lemon-Lime, Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade and Grape.  Presoak Blank for 30 min.  Squeeze out excess water and hand paint large sections to get a long gradient.  This project was so beautiful that I ended up taking multiple pictures along the way.  

Handpainting a rainbow with Kool-Aid
Wrapped up in plastic wrap to prevent the colors from mixing

Rinsing the yarn - see how clear the water is?  All of the color is in the fiber

My dyed blank drying (Is it still a blank once it has been dyed?  It certainly is too vibrant to be called a blank now!)

Another view of my drying rainbow yarn
The gradient didn't turn out perfectly.  There was some leaking of colors from where the reds and purple dye spilled out the ends, but overall we have a really successful asymmetric gradient.   The different sections of color are not evenly distributed, but this is something I knew from when I started filming the video.  I could have divided the blank into 6 equal sections first, and then scrunched up the middles rather than guesstimating as I did... however I think that this will still be a fun colorway so I don't mind!

If you look closely, you can see some of the areas where color bled into the yellow and blue sections.
The color sections aren't even, but are pretty nevertheless

Ready to unwind!
When winding into a center pull ball, I'm realizing that the imperfections from the machine knitting (link to post) made it impossible to unwind easily.  Somehow these twists didn't easily resolve on their own, and I ended up cutting the yarn and making Russian joins and/or felted joins in multiple places.  (This would NOT be an issue with a commercial knit blank, so this is why I did not mention this in the video.) 

Winding into a center pull ball

The finished yarn