I know, it’s been forever. I have lots to tell you, but first I have to get organized. To tide you over, I present my first yarn dye job.
About a month ago, I ordered four sock blanks from Knit Picks. The idea was for each member of the family to dye one and I would make socks out of the result. Yesterday was a PD day, and the weather promised to be bad, so I thought I’d seize the opportunity. After running errands in the morning, and watching the kids frolic in the ‘fountain park’ close to our house (since the weather in the morning turned out to be gorgeous), we went home, had lunch, and set to work. While at the grocery store in the morning, the kids and I picked out our colours – we used packets of unsweetened Kool Aid (or the no-name equivalent). Sadly, the selection was not great, so there were no blues or greens, but everybody was happy with their selection.
The sock blanks are lengths of two strands of sock yarn machine knitted together. The idea is to dye the blanks, and then knit both socks at the same time straight from the blank. Dr. Thingo was incredulous: “Wait, you’re going to take a knitted piece of yarn and un-knit it and knit it up into socks??”
First, we soaked the yarn for about an hour. Then we blotted out most of the water by rolling them up in a couple towels like a giant jelly roll and letting the kids walk and jump on it. We mixed each colour into one of those plastic drinking boxes (after removing the straw) and about a cup of water. Shake, shake, shake. Lay out the sock blank on some plastic wrap, and go crazy with the colour.
After you’ve covered the blank to your satisfaction, you roll it up in the plastic and put it in a microwave safe dish.
Nuke it for about two minutes. Let it rest for a couple minutes, and then nuke it for another two minutes. Let cool for a while, until it’s cool enough to handle. Unwrap, wash it (I used Kookaburra wool wash), then dry.
It’s easy, non-toxic, and you don’t need mordant because there’s plenty of citric acid in the Kool Aid to set the dye. Gloves are recommended, but not crucial.
And one of the kids’ favourite part of the process was to drink the leftovers. After I put sugar in it (even I’m not that mean).
And the results aren’t that bad!
Vorlon’s is on the left (Grape, Orange, Strawberry-Kiwi and Tropical Punch), Zebula’s on the right (Grape, Strawberry-Kiwi, Cherry and Tropical Punch), and mine in the middle (Grape, Orange, and Cherry).
Surprisingly not messy and lots of fun! Dr. Thingo has to go pick his colours, and he’ll dye his blank later. Which is ok, as I now have three pairs of socks to crank out. And there’s lots of stuff coming down the pike already. More on that later.