Mason jars are my new friends

Instead of starting this post off with my dyeing adventures, I’ll talk a bit about knitting.  I miss knitting.  The last time I even thought to pick up some needles were January 24 in the early stages of labor in an attempt to keep my mind off of the pain.  (Boy was that laughable, I’ve never dropped so many stitches in my life!)  Since then, my days have been happily filled with my absolutely adorable daughter.  Even when I think about going to grab some yarn and needles, I have no idea what I want to knit!  I’m not much of a clothes knitter and have primarily focused on knitting modular items – blankets, scarves, and lace shawls.  I have knit one sock (yep, just the one), but that wasn’t for me at the time.  I need a pattern that isn’t ridiculously complicated and just something repetitive and easy.  I keep thinking that I want to start working on the beekeeper’s quilt pattern again and then I think how awesome it would be to use my own hand dyed yarn to do that, but I’m not to that point yet.  Soon though!  I want to introduce mini-skeins to the Etsy store at some point in the near future.  Maybe I’ll break out the needles tonight…maybe.

In the meantime, I’ll use Emme’s activity mat, nap, and other quiet times to work some dye magic with the yarn!  I am currently using food coloring gels to dye all of my yarns as I don’t want to risk any airborne acid dye particles with an 11 week old in the house.  Food coloring gels need an acid to change the pH of the water for the dyes to be absorbed so I add a bit of white vinegar to the dye baths.  Well vinegar also “breaks” some of the dyes I’m using, and that mostly includes purples, blues, browns, and blacks.  The different components of these dyes absorb at different rates so more care needs to be taken if you actually want to get the intended color instead of streaks of “broken” dye.  Needless to say, the dyeing process is lengthier when trying to get these dyes to absorb correctly.  Today’s successful venture:

Success

 

I’m continuing my work with complementary colors, but I needed my blue-violet and violet to behave!  I decided to bust out the mason jars and dye individual sections of the yarn instead of letting all of the colors mingle in one large dye bath.  First I divided the yarn and tied it off in four sections using acrylic yarn (since that will never take the yarn like an animal fiber).  I used four colors – the biggest difference is that I didn’t introduce vinegar into the process at all until the yarn had first soaked on its own and then had soaked in the dye for about an hour.  Once I saw that the initial dye had been absorbed into the yarn, I added the tiniest bit of vinegar to each jar to get the other dyes to absorb.

DyeingFun

I even brought the jars out of the kitchen to show Miss Emme…and to see the yarn in a better light.

DyeandEmme

CoolingDyes

I definitely used a bit too much dye as it took a bit longer than usual to rinse out the lingering colors so next time I’ll use a bit less.  I like how some of the exhausted dye bath was absorbed higher up into each section.  Hopefully I’ll have this one up in the Etsy store tomorrow or the day after.  I have the two complimentary skeins that I dyed last night to post too.  I have just one more skein left to dye, but another shipment is on the way!

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