The skein is about 12 feet in diameter, wound using the very simple warping board I made with some long nails and an old kitchen cabinet door. Although the posts of the intricate warping boards for self-striping yarn make that look like fun, I am just not there yet. Simple variagations it will be. The deck table is prepared with the damp skein on top of the Value Village $2 tablecloth, protected somewhat with saran wrap.
My son decided to help. He has a great color sense, but had been intimidated by the idea of dyeing. I purchased enough yarn for him to dye a skein, but he's been dubious about joining me in this adventure.
I made solutions of each of the seven colors of Permalon dye. Lots of plastic cups and spoons to play around with the combinations, looking for the perfect greens and browns.
Yellow (Daffodil) & Turquoise made a clear green. Yellow & Royal Blue made a greyer, more subdued green. We made four different solutions, from a dark piny green to a light yellow-green.
Brown was a bit harder. Zach finally got browns we liked by making orange (with daffodil & fire engine red) and adding just a tiny touch of blue.
We used the plastic spoons to ladle the colors onto the yarn, keeping about an inch of white space between colors.
Then I sprayed the whole thing with vinegar, wrapped it in saran wrap and steamed it for about 45 minutes.
Here is the skein, rinsed and still damp. Hard to tell from the photograph, but the dark color at top is exactly the dark piny green we wanted. Some of the other colors came out right also, but look! That bright yellow --- not in the plan. What happened to the blue that had been mixed with it? And what's with that red? Again, that is not at all the brown we got from mixing the colors.
Once this is dry, balled and swatched, I expect it will look fine. Good even. Not what I had intended, but that's to be expected. Zach says it looks more like a Jungle, all the greens with bright flowers.
Questions: Why did the dye react like this? I know enough to know that the final color doesn't necessarily look like the color in the jar, or dripped onto a paper towel, but I don't understand why that one corner in particular lost all the blue and ended up yellow and red.
- The skein was too dry. I soaked it, squeezed out excess water, but it started drying while we were finalizing the color palette.
- the dyes didn't mix thoroughly.
- I didn't steam it long enough or I steamed it too long
- that one corner got too much acid, not enough acid, more heat or less heat that the rest.
Zach was pleased at the process and the result. (Not that he would wear socks like this, of course). He is interested in trying a skein or two of his own. He made a button for his blog declaring that he is "Not afraid to dye".
My next attempt, I am going to try for a similar colorway, but using only the "pure" colors for mixing: Daffodil, Fucschia, Turquoise and Black. After that I want to try more muted --- along my original PNW forest colors, then perhaps.... I think I am hooked.