Category Archives: Dyeing

In which I run out of distractions and am forced to post knitting

Earlier this year, Jeanne and Deb and I got together at Deb’s for a fabulous day of yarn dyeing and conversation. I dyed a KnitPicks sock blank to make some more gradient yarn. (Bookfolk, just skim over this part and nod and smile.) Hmm. And apparently took no pictures of the sock blank, nor of the skeined yarn. Anyway, here’s the first sock and the proto-second sock (ie, the other ball of yarn). (Brigitte’s now noticing that this sock is about an inch longer than it was when I was at her place last month. Umm…)

“Does this photo make my tail look big?” -Chaos

Hmm. Let’s try that again.

“Oh! Yarn! And needles! Yum! My favorites!” -Mayhem

No yarn or needles were harmed during this photoshoot, but as usual, it was a near thing.

Dyeing for yarn

Yes, it’s that time of year again – yarn dyeing season in Minnesota! Yesterday, Jeanne and I headed over to Deb’s for a lovely afternoon of snacks, drinks, conversation, and, incidentally, yarn dyeing. We had a perfect afternoon – temps in the low 80s, low humidity, sun, breezes… ahhhh…

Here’s all the yarn that we dyed:

Deb used those fabric swatches for some of her color inspiration – didn’t she do a great job?

Here’s the yarn I dyed – the bluish thing in the middle is a KnitPicks sock blank. When it’s eventually all untangled, I’ll be able to knit a pair of socks that will be shaded from light blue at the toes through medium blues and purples to dark purple and black at the cuff.


“Mom was gone almost all day on my birthday, but at least Jeanne remembered and gave me a pink sparkly ball! Maybe Jeanne is confused about what a tiara is.” -Mayhem

Do not adjust your dye-al*

*with apologies to Deb… More on that if you make it through the linky madness below.

Megan’s having a raffle to raise money to attend a missionary training course in Mexico. For each $10 you donate, you get a chance to win some pretty amazing prizes. Donate by August 13, 12 pm EDT to be included in the raffle.

None of us are free until all of us are free – check out the Free Tibet contest details at PoMo Golightly.

Hmm… T-shirt or sign or mug?! πŸ˜‰

Oh, Itty Bitty Kitty Committee has a ScratchScroll, too! (If you like looking at great pictures of adorable kittens, you need to be reading IBKC.)

Lisa found this tutorial on making your very own cardboard cat furniture

And Dotty found the bag version of my water bottle… although we can’t tell if it’s risque or not.


So, as Deb mentioned, she and Jeanne and I got together last Saturday to dye some yarn. Deb picked up some KnitPicks sock blanks (to make self-striping sock yarn) for us to try. Isn’t she just the sweetest?! Group hug for Deb!

Here’s Dr. Deb at work on her very cool watermelon yarn. I think she might be about to add the seeds!

You may be shocked to discover that I dyed this Tequila Sunrise yarn, inspired by the first photo in Jane Brocket’s Twist Collective article.

Jeanne came up with the brilliant idea of using the Yarn Harlot’s Laurie’s Socks #1 and Laurie’s Socks #2 for color inspiration – here she is working on her interpretation of Laurie’s Socks #1.

Can you believe that the purple and black yarn in this picture was not mine?! πŸ™‚ Truth.

Now, KnitPicks claims you can just knit two socks at the same time from your sock blank and not have a thing to worry about, but I’m doubtful. That’s some darned kinky yarn! I plan to soak it, weight it, and hope it hangs straight.

In order below, my Tequila Sunrise, Jeanne’s Laurie’s Socks #1, and my Laurie’s Socks #2.

And, of course, all the kinky self-striping yarn that Jeanne and I dyed – her skeins on the left and mine on the right.

My thoughts? KnitPicks, you need to knit the sock blanks more loosely, so that dye can reach all of the yarn. We all ended up with white spots that were not visible until we unwound the yarn. Also, I can’t imagine trying to knit this straight off the sock blank. I recommend that two people with niddy-noddies wind the yarn from the blank (one of you will will need to stand on the blank – beware if your feet are ticklish) into hanks so you can soak and straighten the yarn.

“Mmmm… doesn’t all that yarn look scrumptious?! I hope Mom is inattentive for a few minutes, so I can add some extra ends to the process.” -Mayhem

Dyeing for summer

Wendy’s giving away a cute green iPod Shuffle. To enter the contest, leave her a comment with a summer-themed haiku by midnight EDT, May 29.


On Saturday, Jeanne and I headed out to Deb’s to do a bit of dyeing. (Check out Deb’s pictures, too, including one of me.)

Excuse the blurry pictures – sometimes I swear that the “anti-shake” feature on the camera introduces as much blur as it prevents… Probably it’s just me! Anyway, here’s Jeanne working on the last skein of the day.

Deb and Holli relaxing…

And our finished products. Care to guess which two skeins I dyed?

Were you right? πŸ™‚

As you can tell from the pictures, Saturday was nicely sunny – but it was only in the low 60s. Still, this is much better than last year, when we had our air conditioners on by mid-May!

“Shhh… maybe Mom won’t notice me in the cooler and I’ll get to visit Sammy and Tig and check out their ‘Cat Wheel o’ Fun!'” -Mayhem

“What do you mean, there’s not room for the sorbet with me in the cooler?! How could you even tell I was there? Hmph. You never let me have any fun.” -Mayhem

Now I have a song from Cloud Cult stuck in my head…

…since I’m pretty sure most of you haven’t ever heard of Cloud Cult (a local Minneapolis band), you’re completely safe. Unless, of course, you want to go listen to the song (“Take Your Medicine”) and see if you can get it stuck in your heads… Since some of you actually clicked on links to notorious earworms last week, I know you like to live dangerously. πŸ™‚

Anne in New Zealand would like to send some goodies to whoever leaves the 300th comment on her blog.

Sorry my posts haven’t been very energetic lately. I’ll fill y’all in on why in a few days. Hopefully you can hang in there for a while!

Reading Update
Witch Hunt: An Ophelia and Abby Mystery by Shirley Damsgaard. Sweet and fluffy paranormal mysteries set in small-town Iowa, about a librarian who’s a witch – I’ll keep reading these (and not just because there’s a black cat in the books).
Electric Blue by Nancy Bush. It was harder for me to get into the second Jane Kelly mystery than it was to get into the first (Candy Apple Red), but once I did, I enjoyed this light read.
Touch of Darkness: Darkness Chosen, Book 2 by Christina Dodd. I’m enjoying this series – I know it will be at least four books (based on the premise outlined in the first book) and I’m already waiting to find out when the next one will be published!
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie. I’d read this before, but I was looking for a light and fun read and Jennifer Crusie rarely disappoints.

Dyeing Update
On Saturday, Jeanne, Miss T, and I converged on Deb’s house for a lovely day of conversation, dyeing, knitting, eating, drinking, and laughter. Here’s what we dyed – I didn’t use any black and only minimal purple! Hopefully none of you hit your heads falling off your chairs in shock. πŸ˜‰

“This isn’t as hard as you all think it is. Go try it right now! I’ll wait.” -Mayhem

No yarn was harmed taking pictures for this post (although it was a close call)

Danielle needs participants for an online survey. If you have a four-year degree from a US college, you can take the survey and perhaps win a prize! (If you don’t have a four-year degree from a US college, you can leave her a comment that you would’ve taken the survey, had you been eligible.)

The yarn I dyed on Saturday with Jeanne and Deb is finally dry! Deb even took a few pictures of the process – way to go, Deb!

“Hmm, which flavor looks the best?” -Mayhem

“I have selected my victim!” -Mayhem

At that point, it seemed prudent to collect my yarn and whisk it off for reskeining. The “tasty” looking yarn is rather tangled, so it’ll be a project for another day. From the left, the base yarns are the KnitPicks superwash/nylon blend, two skeins of Wool2Dye4 (similar twist to Louet GEMS Pearl), and the KnitPicks superwash/nylon/speckled stuff blend. I was pleasantly surprised at how much better the KnitPicks superwash blends are than their previous non-superwash “bare” sock yarn. (Oh, and that pink skein is destined to be a contest prize, should I come up with a good idea for a contest.)

“Hey, where did that yummy yarn go?! Well, this skein looks like it might be good… if Mom doesn’t snatch it away like she usually does.” -Mayhem

(I did.)

“MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM!” -Mayhem

Tuesday I finally bought a container for my dyes – I had them crammed into a plastic shoebox that wouldn’t stay closed because it was overstuffed. This is a scrapbooking box from Target – the other side also opens (for carrying paper) and will be perfect for my color card and color wheel… when I find the very, very safe place I put them.

“Well, what fun is that, having all those little rollable jars shut away?” -Chaos

Attack on the Fortress of Solitude

Jackie’s giving away two Ravelry invites – check out the details on her blog. She’ll select two lucky participants at noon EDT, July 27.

Speaking of which, the Knitty Professor needs help naming her new Delft “puking cow” creamer. Submit your name ideas by the end of the Tour (July 29) and you could win some yarn and your very own “puking animal” creamer!

Well, I was going to have pictures of the yarn I dyed with Deb and Jeanne on Saturday. However, now that the yarn is finally dry, it’s been very cloudy and too dark to photograph well. Maybe tomorrow! For knitting, I continue to plod away on my Sockamania Serpentine Socks (1.2 completed), which are also my TDF KAL project. Likelihood of completing my Tour is very low, especially since I’m heading “up nord to da cabin” on Friday for the weekend. But hey, at least I haven’t resorted to doping, right?!

Chaos has long considered the top of the refrigerator and adjoining cabinet as his Fortress of Solitude, because Mayhem wasn’t able to get up there. All of that changed recently…

“La la la la la la, I can’t see her!” -Chaos

“Hey, this is my Fortress of Solitude, Mayhem! Mine!” -Chaos

*whistling innocently* -Mayhem

“Go away! My Fortress! Mine!” -Chaos

“Hey!” -Mayhem

“Take that, big kitty!” -Mayhem

“Eeeeek! Run away!” -Chaos

“I rock.” -Mayhem

“Hmph.” -Chaos

“I didn’t want to sit on that stinky old refrigerator anyway, so there!” -Chaos

And finally, some knitting

How perfect is this? I Can Haz Cheezburger is having a caption contest! C’mon, u noes u wantz to. Contest ends June 6, 11:59 pm – and it’s a black cat you’ll be captioning. You know you can do it!

Aw, Mayhem really appreciated all the sweet birthday wishes yesterday! For those who are wondering where the heck the year went, I didn’t get her until September last year. Whew! No lost summer of 2006 for y’all.

A few details I neglected to include in my dyeing post earlier this week… I used an assortment of base yarns – some left over from last year and some I was just curious about. I had a lot of Kona fingering superwash, some Schoeller Zimba Top (picked up on Destash from Jennifer), some Kraemer Jeannie, and a random skein of Malabrigo donated by Yarnzilla. So far, my favorite superwash fingering sock yarns to dye are Louet Gems Pearl, Wool2Dye4, and Treadsoft.

We use Country Classics acid dyes, which have citric acid mixed in with the dye – much less stinky than using acetic acid (the acid in vinegar). Our technique is pretty fancy – we mix the dye in plastic cups and pour it onto the yarn, trying to use the minimum amount of water that we can. Then wrap the yarn in plastic wrap and nuke the yarn to set the dye. Make sure you use dedicated utensils and containers for mixing the dye and nuking the yarn! You can use use your regular microwave, but make sure the yarn is well-sealed in plastic wrap and air out the microwave afterward. Wearing gloves is a really good idea, too, unless you want to be mocked at work for your technicolor hands. Right, Jeanne?

Knitting *gasp* Update
I’m part of Sockamania, and we’re supposed to be knitting a pair of socks each month. I loved May’s pattern, but I got distracted by other things and didn’t get very far. I got a lot less far than it looks in this picture, actually, since I’ve decided the heel is way too tight and I need to rip back and start the gusset earlier.

The yarn is Regia Bamboo, color 1072 – I picked it because it had the April-May Project Spectrum colors of pink and green. This sock is probably on hold until after I knit the June Sockamania sock.

I started another, simpler sock, which fortunately covers one of the April-May PS colors and one the June-July colors.

“Hmph. So what if it wasn’t my birthday? What am I, invisible?!” -Chaos

Nope, I didn’t dye that yarn – I picked it up before we really got into dyeing. It’s from ebay seller lotusblossom, but it doesn’t look like she has anything now with Treadsoft superwash as the base.

“Teeheehee, big kitty! I am the cutest!” -Mayhem

Drip dyeing away

Oh, there’s a kitty-themed music cd swap on swap-bot. Who’s in with me?! You have to sign up by June 1.

Our Further Adventures in Dyeing
Deb has already posted her account of our Saturday dyeing adventures. I sure couldn’t tell she started her day off with a migraine – it certainly didn’t impair her gracious hostessing abilities one bit! (If you ever have the chance to eat at Deb’s, do it.)

Here’s Jeanne, doing a little dye organization – alas, you can’t see her cute haircut. (Deb, you’ll thank me for not posting the picture I took of you.)

We dyed a lot of yarn.

I did have a mission, so I was cranking through the yarn and went well outside of my usual palette. I’ll wait for you all to recover from the shock.

Sorry about the color in that picture – I swear, every time I’ve tried to take yarn pictures for the past several days, clouds have swept across the sun. I was trying to get the lime green to show up better… Maybe this is a bit better – no touch ups at all.

Here’s what the pink and brown skein on the far left looked like reskeined. I haven’t reskeined any of the others yet.

“What the heck?! Are you using me as a prop again?!” -Chaos

“I’m so disappointed in you, Mom.” -Chaos

Another vacation Monday!

I’m so behind in bloglines! Yikes – over 300 again… If you have or know of a contest you’d like mentioned, please send an email to chris at this domain, since I probably won’t find out about it until it’s over at this rate. Thanks! (On the positive side, I will have new knitting to show you very soon!)

Reading Update
To Catch a Cat by Marian Babson. Just a generic mystery that I read to pass the time while knitting. I wouldn’t recommend it or read it again, although I’ll probably pass it on to Jeanne because the cat on the cover looks like her Greta.
Dead Until Dark, Living Dead in Dallas, Club Dead, Dead to the World, and Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris. I started to read the Southern Vampire series over the weekend and I’m hooked! I love the characters – telepathic barmaid Sookie Stackhouse, the Vampire Bill, the Vampire Bubba, Sam the were-collie… These are set in a small town in northern Louisiana (near Shreveport). Hopefully the library has the next one…

Ok, I promised pictures of the yarn I dyed at Deb’s last Thursday. Behold the skein that contains no black, purple, or pink!

Of course, it looked much better when it was reskeined – this is 800 yards of the KnitPicks Dye Your Own laceweight, using Country Classics dyes (buttercup, pumpkin, butterscotch, and a mixture of greens that I’ve forgotten).

Here’s a skein of Wool2Dye4’s sock yarn, dyed with key lime, kiwi, and raven:

Deb picked up one of Louet’s mini dyeing kits and let me play with it. The kit came with three colors of Gaywool dye (blueberry, cornflower, and silverbirch), along with some GEMS Pearl. We passed this yarn onto Jeanne, since she couldn’t join us on Thursday.

May practices her yarn inspecting technique:

“I think the big kitty is just making me do all the work now.”

And just so you know that you’re still at the right blog, I did dye a skein with some purple and black – this is Wool2Dye4’s sock yarn, dyed with wild iris, charcoal, and raven.

May was apparently exhausted from her yarn inspection.

“There, there, May, a nice bath will revive you.” – Chaos
“Hmph.” – Mayhem