Friday, January 26, 2007

11 days? Really?

I've been wanting to wait to post anything until I got my photos up on this site, but I'm feeling neglectful, so I feel compelled to write something. I really can't believe that it has been 11 days since I last wrote. It certainly hasn't been 11 days since I knit!

One of the things that has taken up my time over the last 11 days has been: dealing with the dye in my mom's scarf. I made my mother a scarf out of this beautiful red/variegated w/ other colors yarn that is half silk, half wool. It is Ellyn Cooper's Yarn Sonnets' Hand-dyed Yarn in Chinese Poppy. I bought it because it was so soft (and beautiful) and I wanted her to have something nice against her neck -- not a scratchy wool job. The first thing I noted about this yarn as I was that it turned EVERYTHING red as I was knitting with it. What do I mean when I say everything? I mean it turned my fingers, my finger nails, my needles, even my freaking jeans red as I knit with the stuff -- !?!?! But, it was so nice looking that I did it anyway.

I gave it to my mother and she has been wearing it. The problem? You guessed it -- it turns all her stuff red too. So, I started a search online to figure out what to do about this dye -- how to set it, etc. What I found was a lot of information about setting dye in wool roving or dyeable yarn that one dyed at home. I didn't find anything on setting dye in yarn that one has bought. This is probably because I have selective blindness and don't seem to be able to find things that are right in front of me sometimes, but as of this posting, I still haven't found what I was looking for.

I did remember having heard about using salt water and using vinegar for setting dye, so I decided I would use them. I bought both items (didn't have either in my house, remarkably (long story)). I read first about the vinegar for setting dye and read that it was good for acid-based dyes. I have NO idea whether the dye in this baby is acid-based, so I chickened out. And, besides, who wants to smell like vinegar? So, I decided to do salt water instead. Which I did. Did it work? I don't really think so. What I ended up doing was soaking the scarf in cold water, dumping out the bright red water, and doing this with clean water until the water that the scarf was in was considerably less red (after about 4 baths, I think -- the first one being a saltwater bath, so that MAY have affected it, for all I know, but I'm not sure).

The sad thing is that while it seems to have worked, it does seem to have washed out the color some. This shouldn't surprise me, I suppose, but I am still bummed out over it. If anyone out in cyberland has recommendations for how to get dye to stick/wash out without washing out the color, that would be awesome. The color is not terrible, though, so I don't feel like I ruined the scarf. I do feel like maybe I was lucky, though, and COULD have ruined the scarf. Who knows? So, as I said, this has been one of my recent adventures in knitting....

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