Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Purple rain and stain

So I've had my 'fix trip' to the Handweavers Studio, I've decided I have to dye yarn, because I can. I have my instructions, what could possibly go wrong? I select my yarn, I read the instructions in 10 seconds flat and I know exactly what to do. I even go out and look at pots in which to cook my yarn to said chosen colour and decide I have the perfect pot at home.The adage, always read the instructions carefully, doesn't enter my head, not once. My mother's motto of being fully prepared and check then recheck, does not surface at all. I'm eager and I'm going in. By the time I've laid out all my instruments I feel like a cross between a surgeon about to undergo open heart surgery and a plumbers mate. Now, its my first time trying to dye yarn, you would think I'd choose one small skein and see how it works, oh no, I choose, 8 skeins each weighing a minimum of 300 grams - because I know exactly what I'm doing. In my head, all I have to do is weigh out the dye stuff, dissolve it, add the yarn, raise the temperature, rinse it out and hey presto I have coloured yarn. Suffice to say, 8 was reduced to 4. My bath is now a lovely shade of pink and my cooker top is suffering from trauma as a result of purple rain and a bubbling pot of purple dye.

In reality, at the time, I felt completely overwhelmed when I realised I had bitten off more than I could chew, so to speak. I had all of the parifinalia, but hadn't carefully worked out the logistics. For example, how do you get heavy boiling yarn out of a pot into a basin without burning yourself, without all the excess liquid splashing all over the cooker top and onto the floor x 4 times? How do you maintain the liquid at the stated temperature, how do you keep the liquid just below boiling point and not AT boiling point? (Did I mention that my cooker is dying and works when it wants to)How do you cook dinner and dye at the same time -take away is a brilliant thing, even better is a God father who pops in to see how you are doing!! And where are you going to dry the yarn?

Having summed up my stupidity, the end product is lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. Next time I will take more time in preparation, put newspaper on the floor and give myself lots of time in which to complete said task. I've learned that this is definitely a high summer deal as well.
The yarn took ages to dry and of course the process was followed by 3 days of rain, so the yarn came in to dry. In the end and out of desperation, I had to place the damp yarn on the heater to dry out because I was afraid it would start to smell moldy and stale. I'm sure that's sacrilege, but did not want the yarn to spoil (not by damp, but placing it on the heater instead, mmm). You can tell I know exactly what I'm talking about can't you.
I will end on my complete amazement that it took only 2 teaspoons of dye to colour over a kilo of cotton yarn. I started off not knowing how it would all turn out and even though I scared myself a few time, I would do it again. Besides, my son thinks I'm brilliant. He has given me his order and colour of yarn so that he can finger knit a scarf for his Nanna.
On the knitting front, Maggie has been frogged and abandoned. I figured out that my knitters block was due to wrong yarn and wrong pattern. Something just was not right. Mary is ticking along and I have startisis, so I'm looking at the Debbie Bliss 'Wish you were here' book. I am a little puzzled by the sizing on some of the garments. I'm pleased that most of the patterns have gone up to a size 46", but of course the pattern I want to do, the asymmetric wraparound, only goes up to a 38". Of the lovely patterns to knit, this one favours a larger, or more curved figure, so you see my confusion.

On the Shea front, he has successfully completed his home care badge at Cubs. This included cooking a meal, serving it, setting a table for a meal, doing the washing up, keeping his room tidy, washing and ironing a garment (his cub scout scarf) and sewing on a button and a badge. So now he is fully domesticated and can give the cleaning godesses a run for their money. Of course it all comes at a price and bribery is no stranger in my house!!


dawn said...

ok, how much dye did you buy? We had a fab dyeing time with Nic at her studio, using food dyes, vinegar, water and a microwave - but i think it's just for wool not cotton.

Anonymous said...

Soon you be an expert. Are you going to try two colours next?
The purple must look fanastic in real life. Hope to see it soon.

Poshyarns said...

I loved reading about your purple rain experiences and especially the bit about next time putting down newspaper, I can only imagine what the floor must have looked like. I like to go at new things with a gun ho attitude too, if I overthink the thing I'll end up never doing it. There is nothing like learning from experience is there? The finished object looks really good, fantastic, strong colour, have you got a project in mind for it?