Monday, June 18, 2007

Yarn dyeing and Hair!

Two subjects to write about today: Yarn dyeing and Hair!

First, Hair. I was completely put in my place yesterday. I'm a bit opinionated when it comes to children's hair, specifically boys hair and even more specifically, the length of it. I'm old school. I love to see a super short, clean haircut on a little boy. Nothing long, nothing shaggy. Well. There's this little boy that I know who has very long hair. If you didn't know he was a boy, you'd swear he was a girl. Of course, I was being snooty and looking down my nose at him, thinking that his Mom must just like that kind of thing and doesn't that make me better than her cause my boys have short hair? I feel like a total tool now. I was told that this little boy made the decision to grow out his hair for Locks of Love. What an amazing thing this little boy is doing. Some little child is going to be thrilled to get that red, curly hair. How much crap has this little boy had to put up (by people like me) with over this wonderful decision that he has made?

To defend myself at least a little bit, let me add this. I live in an area where redneck parents think it's a good idea to not only let their kids hair grow out for fun, but they let them do it Mullet style. ick! Let me add a bit more: I'm not against grown men with longer hair. Can we say Viggo Mortenson from Lord of the Rings, anyone????

Okay, on to Yarn dyeing fun!

1. I got some knitpicks Bare sock yarn - 2 skeins of it and couldn't wait for the fun to begin. I have absolutely no experience in doing this kind of thing, but couldn't wait to get started. I soaked the yarn in very hot water and let it sit for about 45 minutes.

2. Dye - for this go around (won't be my last) I used Dylon permanent fabric dye in Poppy Red, Royal Blue and Sunflower Yellow.

3. I knew I wanted a variegated yarn, so I used two quart jars per skein. I only wanted two colors, thus the two jars. I did two combinations: Red/Purple, Orange/Green.

I did not follow the exact directions on the dye packs. For the red I used one dye pack (it's powder). Purple - One Red pack and about half of the blue. This was gorgeous. It turned out a dark heathery purple. For the Orange color I used half of the yellow and about two or three tsps. of the red dye. The Green was fun. It turned out a fabulous moss green. To get it, I used the other half of the yellow and about a tablespoon and a smidge of the blue. As you can tell, I didn't get exact measurements. We (my Mom was playing too) just kept adding until we got the color we wanted.

I added the recommended amount of salt (4 tbsp) to the mixtures to help set the dye. If you do this, make sure that you cover your work surface really well. (Mom would have killed me if I had messed up her granite counter tops. It's fun to craft at someone else's house, but the repercussions could be hell if you mess up!)

4. So I place the dye jars close together in a big pan on top of a great big splat mat, then added the yarn. This yarn is a superwash sock yarn, so I didn't need to be as careful of it felting, but if you use other, beware. Make sure you do some research first. Warm water, not hot and don't agitate! I divide the hank in half and put one end in one jar and one end in the other. Make sure that you have used some twist ties or waste yarn to secure the hanks as best you can to prevent tangling. I didn't do this well enough and it took me forever to get out the tangles when I went to wound this into a ball.

Notice that there is a little bit of no man's (or dye's) land between the colors? I loved that. The white turned a pretty light gray between the red and purple and a sunny yellow between the orange and green.

5. I let everything sit for an hour. Then I rinsed each hank in cold water and then in cold water and vinegar. I added the vinegar to make sure the dye set. I absolutely do not want runny socks when I'm finished with the final product. I'm paranoid that way. (I must also mention that the smell of wet wool and vinegar is not a lovely aroma.)

6. I then set the to dry out on the porch over night. My mom has a brand spanking new dryer that has a sweater shelf attachment and we put the still damp yarn on it to finish drying the rest of the way the next day.

7. Here's the final results in all it's yarny goodness. Um, I'm not a professional ball winder. Can ya tell? At least I got the job done. I can't wait to knit these up. I'm thinking of maybe doing the Sidewinders over at Nonaknits with one of them. Let me know if you like the way these turned out:


  1. Great job dyeing! I have like 4 hanks of that KnitPicks dyeable sock yarn. I haven't dyed in a looong time. You're making me want to get into it again :-)

  2. Thanks so much! It's killing me that I don't have more yarn to play with.