Friday, March 3, 2017

Color Matching


Sometimes poor planning leads to not having the color yarn you need when you need it.  With Rowdy's birthday around the corner I didn't have time to place a KnitPicks order and wait for it to arrive.  Well, I might have had time, but the colors that I need (in two different yarn lines) are on back order.  Tough luck, right?  I did have some white Wool of the Andes yarn in my stash.  I am Rebecca from ChemKnits, why not dye my own yarn?

I knew that the colors wouldn't be exact, but wanted to try to get close to the colors in a turtle butt diaper soaker I made for Lucky's first birthday.  I had blue and green hats left over from his birthday party (yes, I save EVERYTHING.)  I just need to make a blue and green that will complement the knit diaper cover.  The dark blue is so saturated I thought it would be easier for me to hit than the green.

I created four miniskeins so I could have two attempts to make each color.  I wrapped the yarn around the leg of a stool 12 times.  The four miniskeins weight an average of 6.6 g (6.3, 6.6, 6.9, 6.3).  Pure white yarn has been bleached so it isn't ideal for dyeing yarn.  However, you work with what you have and I know that this yarn will take up some color.  For the blue, I planned to use a mixture of Blue and NEON Blue food coloring.  For the green I would use NEON green and maybe some NEON blue as necessary.

It is always fun to try out something new.  Why not try to use mason jars inside of a pot of water on the stove top to set the color?  Microwaving would be significantly faster and easier, but I knew there are a lot of fun applications for using mason jars to get variegated yards so I wanted to test out the technique before I used a whole skein of yarn.

In my first attempt:
  • Green - 30 drops neon green, 4 drops yellow, and 3 drops neon blue.  This might end up being too blue or too dark but I will adjust after this first attempt.
  • Blue - 10 drops blue, 30 drops NEON blue
This was a lot of dye for only 6 g of yarn, but I knew that I want deep saturated colors.  If the colors were too dark I'd cut the amount of dye and try again.  This is why I started with four miniskines.

I make mistakes!  Some of my mistakes are beautiful, but other times they're frustrating because I'm trying to achieve a specific result.  Today I wanted to dye mostly solid yarns.  (I knew that I'd get even better solid results if I used a larger volume of water, but I wanted to try mason jar dyeing.)  I accidentally left the miniskeins twisted when I added them to the dyepot.  Remember what happened when you kettle dye a twisted skein?  You get some cool variation of color.  Unfortunately, this wasn't what I wanted this time so I had to start over.

Since I needed to dye the yarns again anyway, I used this as an opportunity to tweek the colors a bit. Second attempt:
  • Green - 30 drops neon green
  • Blue - 35 drosp blue, 5 neon blue

I knew as soon as the dye had absorbed to the yarn that I was much closer to the colors I wanted.  Could I try again to get even closer?  Sure.  However I knew that the decorations would be far enough from the shorts that it should work.

Now that the yarn has been dyed (and dried) I need to start crocheting some dinosaur appliques.  I will talk about that project in another blog post but you can get a sneak peek if you watch the entire video of this dyeing process.