Hard Lessons

I said I was going to dye some cotton yarn this weekend, and boy did I do it!

Yesterday it was another lovely sunny day so I took a chair into the back garden and wound the yarn around and around the chair to make skeins for dyeing.  Here are photos of the balls of yarn (with cat helper) and the winding process.  I did this for TWELVE balls of yarn.

When I had all these wound up I tied them in 4 places with wool to hopefully keep them from becoming a tangled mess.  Operative word here being HOPEFULLY.

This afternoon I first ran them all through the washing machine on gentle cycle to get them good and wet.  That went just fine.  No tangled mess, just wet cotton ready to go.

Next, I got out my Dylon dye and 500 grams of salt and following the instructions, dumped the dye first, then the salt, then the yarn, all into the machine.  I set it for a normal 40 C degree cycle and hit the start button.  Wow!  This was exciting!  Everything became orange pretty quickly and I watched my skeins turn and tumble in the orange water.

I went downstairs to do other things.

An hour later I went up to see the results.  Oooo such excitement!  And I wasn’t disappointed.  It was exciting all right.  I got great orange color, a deep rich color, and….. a tangled wad of spaghetti.  

It was actually worse than it looks.  I had to get out my pointy scissors and cut it in places.  Many places.  Eventually I ended up with 12 more or less individual wads of cotton.  I squeezed out the last of the water and they are now hanging up to dry.  What a mess.  I’m sure I’ll still be able to salvage it all and knit with it, but it will take HOURS of work to untangle them.

Lesson learned:  dyeing in a washing machine would be better done to a finished garment.  I should have knit the sweater first, then dyed it.  The reason I didn’t do this is that I didn’t want to spend all the time to knit something only to have it ruined by a bad dye job.  I had never dyed anything like this before and had no idea if it would come out nice or not.  I like the result of the color.  Next time, if there is a next time with cotton, I’ll knit first, dye second.  Would be dyers out there, take note!

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