To Dye For

I've been turning my fingers blue and purple and green these past few days. Oh and yeah, some of the dye actually made it on the yarn. I'm doing a study at home dyeing education class. Well sort of - I mean I'm really teaching myself. Basically I know the recipe - fiber, dye, mordant/acid, and heat. I can make some things happen. But I'd like to do this small business wise so I need to know with at least a small level of certainty that A + B+ C + D = pretty yarn. At least most of the time. I'm considering moving the dyepots out to the garage, but for right now, my kitchen counter looks like this:

pots

I thought about doing it with big pots on the stove, but I kind of love the safety of the crockpot. It takes no time to set things up, and I walk away for awhile and let things go. A few hours later I have something beautiful, or at the very least, something interesting. Plus I feel safer with crockpots with my kids in the kitchen than large vats of nearly boiling water and dye. This is what my back deck looks like:

experiments

From left to right: DK 100% superwash merino in a bright blue, sportweight 75% wool & 25% nylon in greens, bulky 100% wool in scarlet (aka the foaming yarn), sportweight 75% wool & 25% nylon in lighter blues, fingering 100% merino in pinks, and fingering 75% wool & 25% nylon in darkest purples.

All of them are good except for the last two. The pink and the purple refuse to rinse clear. I know I put too much dye in the purple pot. But since then they've cooked for quite some time in a solution that was 50% vinegar and it still won't set. Someone suggested putting some roving in a pot with them to soak up the excess dye, but I don't have any, and I don't want to waste any of my practice yarn on stuff that I'm tired of screwing with. So the pink and the purple are trash. But they were done earlier in the week and I've gotten more precise with my dyestuffs, so I'm chalking it up to experience.

I have 400 more grams of undyed yarn and I'm probably going to work through two of them today to re-test the method that I liked the best - which is the one that produced the lighter blues. And then I have two skeins of the base that I think I will use for my first for sale yarns and we will test the results of all of my mad scientist experiments.

I think I might need a labcoat. Or a Dr. Horrible get-up.