Thursday, February 15, 2007


Did anybody know that ultrawash wool and regular wool take up dye differently? Or maybe nylon content causes it? (But I'm thinking the 'superwashing' process that renders them unfeltable probably opens them up chemically and is the cause of Massive Dye Suckup. Like an extreme version of what you do to the fiber when you add vinegar for dyeing.)Don't believe me? Look at this:

On the left, 100% merino wool. On the right, the new sock yarn, 25% nylon and 75% superwash wool. The dye was the same. I mean, not just the same chemical, I mean the same exact concentration, both from the same dispenser, all mixed at the same time. I was going to call the yarn on the right Martian Sunset, but I'm tempted to call it "FUCK." because that's what I said when I first poured the dye on and saw it go thermonuclear.

Creating pastels should be really interesting. Ha. On the other hand, the dye hits so fast it may not have time to 'break', making my life easier. Even if you guys won't have the same quality Purple Trainwreck.

Seriously, though, I'm much happier with this second batch of sock yarn and am glad to put my name on it, unlike the last stuff (100% Peruvian mystery sheep, and kind of stringy and splitty). It's just rendered all my dye experimentation of the last two months completely useless. More freaky color combos on the horizon.

I tried some Purple Trainwreck today with the superwash stuff. It really IS a trainwreck. Eesh.

Bells asked about the light box I'm using, and I'm sort of ashamed to post a picture of it, but here it is.

I left it set up for the shot I took above, so you can really see how rickety it is. (That's one of The Baby's ABC books, wedged between the couch cushions, holding it at the proper angle.) It's a cardboard box with three sides cut out and white tissue paper taped over the holes (to diffuse light), and a piece of white posterboard curved around to make a back and floor without a crease, so that there's no real horizon line.

Lighting on the cheap is discussed in great deatil over at Strobist, which is where I got the plans for this little gem. Cheap, and it works. If the cat trashes it, I'll build another. For yarn photos, a good shot depends 90% on lighting. At least. Maybe 95%. I finally feel like I'm getting the hang of it.

Anyway. I dyed six skeins of yarn today and have yet to finish the shovel-out on the office.

Maybe I'll go knit something.


Emma said...

Ah, I love Thermonuclear. You should titally name it that too.

Swapna said...

I like both the variants. Maybe it's a culture thing? Nothing wrong with bright colours, is there?

Louiz said...

The thermonuclear superwash is much brighter (and therefore I like it more)... mmm, contemplating just handing you my paycheque every month...

Maggie said...

I don't think it's the nylon that made it soak up the dye, I think it's the superwash. I have dyed Briggs and Little wool before and I dyed both their heritage (100% wool) and Tuffy (15% nylon) in the same dyelot and their colors turned out exactly the same.

You probably already know this but I find makes a HUGE difference is if the yarn you use is not just a natural white, but a bleached white. Bleached white yarn makes very vibrant colors.

Still, I LOVE the color you ended up with!

NeedleTart said...

When is this sale you speak of? The thermonuclear is calling me. Husband says he will wear any color socks I care to knit for him. Bwa-ha-ha!

Rae said...

Oh Needletart, that could be downright mean to DH. Imagine him in hot pink. LOL.

Julie, the lightbox is awesome. I love it. And as a cheap-o myself who HATES designed obsolescence, it's an awesome use of already-existing materials.

LOVE the Thermonuclear. And mostly love reading about your experiments. They're most fun.

Rae said...

did I actually say cheap-o? I meant creative thrifty type.

Yeah. Yeah. That's what I meant.

Amy Lane said...

Okay, I'm w/everybody else--I'm all for the Thermonuclear Fuck, myself... (But I'd love to see some saturated pastel laceweight...I don't see enough of that in the catalogs and I'm sort of in that place right now. (Did I mention I'm a color slut?) The light box is supremely clever--as are most cheap-o albeit useful ideas. (Have you ever noticed that the stuff that costs us the least is the stuff we're the most attached to? It's the only thing that can explain my insane fascination with cheap yarn when I have so much better in my stash.)

Roxie said...

I am on the side of the Thermonuclear fans. Also I scrolled back and have the hots for purple trainwreck. There is a place in the world for clear bright colors!! Most of the dyers in my area get muddy, drab tones, or insist on mixing purple and orange in EVERYTHING. Keep up with those saturated, clear, vivid colors!!

Bells said...

and here I was thinking your light box would be all high-tech! LOL!