DYEING FOR A REST

Yes, I am still swamped at work, by the same project that has eaten my time and sanity since last November.  The end though is in sight.  Thank goodness.  In the mean time everything else suffers.  Especially blogging.

I was able to steal an evening this weekend past because Younger Daughter was celebrating her birthday.  We had a house full of 8-year old girls, lots of cake, giggling, glow in the dark sticks, and other modest entertainments suitable to a sleep-over party.  Along the way we did t-shirt tie dyeing.  I got a bunch of inexpensive plain white t-shirts from Walgrens, and a tie dye kit from the local arts and crafts store (more chaotic but much more fun than those big box crafts palaces).   The kit came with almost everything other than the shirts – instructions, three squeeze bottles pre-loaded with dye powder in screaming primary colors, one empty squeeze bottle with marks on it for using two of the other colors to make a fourth, soda ash, rubber gloves,  and rubber bands.  All I needed to add were the shirts and a bucket.  The kids had lots of fun making their own creations, but when they were finished, I had about half of the dye left. 

What to do with it?  Well – what would you do?

What I did was experiment after the kids had wiggled themselves into their sleeping bags and (mostly) gone to sleep. 

I had some old Southmaid Cotton 8 unmercerized white cotton left over from blankets past.  It was very inexpensive, around $1.75 per skein, and it’s been kicking around my stash forever.   Using my swift, I wound out about six skeins worth (2.5 oz each, no yardage provided), knotting them end to end as I went along.  I secured my mega skein in three places with a loose figure 8 tie, just like all the countless skeins of yarn I’ve bought over the years.  Then following the dye kit directions, I soaked the yarn in the soda ash bath.  It sat there for a couple hours.  Then I squeezed as much of the ash water out as I could and laid my yarn out on plastic.  Then I took my squeeze bottles and had at it. 

This is much harder than it seems.  First, keeping the colors in neat segmets is a challenge that must get easier with practice.  Second, making sure that the full depth of the skein is penetrated by color is also difficult.  Again practice must be key.  Perhaps I was overly ambitious with the amount of yarn I was trying to color, but you can see in the blue that I didn’t get the core of the skein as evenly colored as the outside. 

Still, garish colors and imperfect execution as it is, it was a noble experiment.  Without measuring, my guess is that I have enough yarn here to (eventually)  make a sweater for Younger Daughter.  At worst case, possibly a tee-shirt for her.  Which would be congruent given the origin of my inspiration.

Will I try this again?  Possibly.  Messy is always fun.

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