Late night dyefest, test knitting

Sometimes, I like to do things when I have absolutely no distractions. A couple of weeks ago, I decided around 10 p.m. to  start a dye job for a friend of mine who wants to make a sweater. It turned out pretty well, though I have learned some things to watch out for.

  • If the yarn’s still hot from the microwave and you try to do a tonal overdye to cover some blank spots, make sure you use enough dye to flip it over and still have some color left in your dye water. It was a bit of a shock when I flipped the skein over 20 seconds later and there was nothing but clear water left in the bowl for the second side.
  • The whole reason for the tonal overdye was because I had blank spots after dyeing the yarn. (I now hate unplanned for blank spots. I don’t know why it happened, but I hope it doesn’t happen again.) I had to mix more dye to fill them in. Then the color suck mentioned above happened with the first skein, so the 2 separate skeins I dyed don’t match exactly. I even ran out of yellow dye powder before I got to the second skein. Ticked me off.
  • Lesson learned: Make sure you have enough dyewater for both skeins if you’re trying to do  a dyelot, so you don’t have to mix up another batch of dye for the second skein in the middle of the job.
  • Letting the yarn dry completely makes it look better.
  • Using at least 4 matching colors was a good idea.
  • Start the job earlier, say between 8 and 9 p.m. so you can go to bed at a decent hour instead of 2 a.m. Of course, if you’re only dyeing the yarn one color, it will take nowhere near as long.
  • Do some research on what makes my G&K Crafts Procion dye break up when it hits the yarn. The neon green I mixed up broke down into yellow and green streaks. This has happened with black dye, which broke down into green, which I planned for on this dye job. I set it next to green and blue dyes in the skein so that it’d look like I meant for that to happen. The neon breaking up was a surprise, though. I think I am going to send an email and see if the company has any recommendations.
  • Do more research on how to make a shade of dye even darker. The royal blue in the skein is bluer than I expected it to be, but not as deep as I was aiming for.

The emerald green looking parts are my absolute favorite sections of the yarn batches. It made me very happy to see the way it popped. The yarn looked really shiny when it was almost completely dry.

Test Knits

I am a little more than halfway done with the Taliesin test knit, if you don’t count the embroidery part I’m going to do near the end. The Taliesin is a morphing scarf designed by Susan Pandorf.  Buttons at the end of the scarf let you wear it as a regular scarf, a doubled cowl, a long looping scarf, or twisted Mobius-style.

Her blog,  “A Few Stitches Short,” is home to her ridiculously gorgeous lace patterns. I have purchased quite a few, and hope to make at least one of them this year.

For my version of Taliesin I’m hoping to find some bold gold filigree buttons or some black buttons edged with a wide gold stripe for the trim.

It has a fisherman’s rib look on one side (as in this picture), and a rounded stripe look on the other side. I intend to embroider gold and black streaks in the channels between the stripes. You can barely tell the texture from looking at these photos.

I’m thinking this black and gold/bronze mix Red Heart Fiesta yarn is going to work like jewelry when it’s worn. As much as I dislike knitting with acrylic yarn, I love this particular yarn. It’s so soft compared to regular Red Heart. And anything that has shiny gold in it is, basically, MINE.

Taliesin is an easy-to-memorize two-row pattern. Even easier in big yarn. But I have become careful not to get so distracted that I lose my place as far as which row I was on. I had frogged at least 8 times before I hit my stride AND made myself a helping sticky:

Yes, that is a videotape label with a DPN sticking through it for security. It has saved me many, many hours of backtracking. This is also the “channels between the stripes” side.

The other test knit I’m working on is the Luiza shawl by Jane Araujo, who also designed the Gail shawl (Ravelry link to her designer page:

Luiza (Ravelry link)  is gorgeous; I love it! I’m going to start knitting it this evening in Knit Picks Palette fingering weight in Jay, a royal/navy blue kind of color. I have also started a version in a rainbow yarn by JL Vinca that will be gorgeous, even if it’s only going to be scarflette size and most likely without the edging since I only have two skeins of Vinca to work with.

Some last thoughts on dye jobs for myself:

  1. Make more dye than I think I need. Way more.
  2. An extra pair of heavy gloves would be nice.
  3. Get a tote that can hold all the dye supplies without them tipping over and rolling around.
  4. I like doing multiple variants of one color. It can be time consuming, but fun when you get near where you wanted to go. A red/purple variation is next.  Maybe I’ll manage to get that deep cranberry tone I love so much.

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