My little girl grew so much over the summer that she grew out of all of her longies. She really needed some new ones ~ and quickly because the cold weather had already set upon us by the time I realized that she had outgrown her old ones.
In a land with no LYS, I am forced to go with department craft stores when I need something quickly. So I ran down to my local Hobby Lobby for a big skein of Lion Brand Fisherman's wool. I have found that after all the vinegar baths needed for the dyeing process, the wool softens up quite nicely. I think it also fluffs up a good bit. By the time I dye it and let it dry, it is quite a nice wool to knit into longies.
I love hearing the details of how others have dyed their wool so that I can attempt making a similar colorway. So I thought that I would let you in on how I dyed this yarn that my 16 year old son has dubbed "Skittles ." He says it looks just like all the colors in a bag of Skittles candy, and I think he's right.
I used the entire 8 oz. skein (465 yards) of Fisherman's Wool. I began with the usual soak in very warm (almost hot) water and a couple of glugs of vinegar (about 1/4 cup). After it soaked for about 30 to 45 minutes, I dumped the water and carefully moved the yarn (which had been skeined and tied in about four places so that it would not be a tangled mess) into my 4 quart crockpot.
While the yarn was soaking, I had filled the crockpot about half full of very hot water and another glug of vinegar. I turned it to high so that it would be ready for the yarn. Now I gently put the yarn into the crockpot, letting it twist and coil into the water any which way it desired.
Now for the dye. For the red, I mixed 6 packages of Strawberry Kool-Aid into a small glug of vinegar and enough hot water to total about 3/4 cup of liquid. For the Blue, I mixed 6 packages of Berry Blue Kool-Aid in 3/4 cup vinegar/hot water. For the yellow, I mixed 80 drops of yellow liquid food coloring into 3/4 cup of vinegar/hot water mixture. Stir each one very well to make certain that the Kool-Aid is completely dissolved.
Then I poured the dye into the crockpot. The red was all on one side, the blue was all on the other side, and the yellow went right down the middle. As I poured, I was careful to keep the dyes from mixing together. I really did not move the cup around too much as I poured. I mostly just poured all of the dye in one spot. The yellow was pored in a thin line straight across the pot. It looked like the picture above.
Be sure that you do not stir or you will have mud! I don't even poke the yarn down into the water. I just pour and leave.
Then I put the lid on, left the crockpot set on High, and left the room.
Resist any urge to poke or stir. It's best if you leave the lid on the crockpot until it's completely done. If you have a lid that you can see through, you can just peer through the lid to check on dye absorption. When you see that all the dye has been taken up into the yarn and the water looks clear or almost clear, turn the crockpot off and leave it again. This is the hard part~ leave it overnight (or 8 hours or so). Leave the lid on. When you come back to open the lid, the yarn and water should be cool enough to touch.
Now you can rinse any excess dye out of your yarn. Then just squeeze it out in a towel (just like you would do when lanolizing or washing your soakers) and let it dry.
The thing that I especially love about dyeing yarn in the crockpot is that you end up with a multicolor yarn that is random. There is no pattern or predictability to the color changes that happen along any strand of the yarn. You end up with beautiful color changes and no pooling. This suits my free spirit wonderfully!
Be Brave, be creative~