Now that I've got your attention, I'll point out that it's dyeing with an "e" - and not dying. So don't worry, it's all in good fiber fun.
On the first day of school last week, my fiber friend Michelle arranged for a yarn dyeing session. We decided on sock yarn. This was perfect since I had five hanks of footscray from Ingrid at The Yarn Workshop (whom I met first online and then in person at the 2009 Sock Summit in Portland, Oregon). So my un-dyed fingering weight sock yarn was just sitting there waiting a full year for a reason to dye.
So Michelle, Joanne and I had a great adventure while the kids were getting in the back-to-school routine.
We started by separating the hanks of yarn. Michelle took a dyeing class at Rhinebeck last fall and learned that you should make your hanks very long to avoid pooling. So these hanks had to become longer.
We put our un-dyed yarn to soak in pails of hot water.
While our yarn was soaking, Michelle had a sampling of acid dyes for us to choose from. I picked a mulberry, tiger lily and chestnut. (purple, orange and brown). For those of you who know me, these are not my usual colors, but when I queried BF about what colors he thought I should make, he suggested burgundy. This was about as close as I could come.
Here's my yarn being dyed by friends. This makes it so much fun because everyone's participating, you don't over-think the pattern. You just do it in a random fashion making it a true work of friendship.
So here's a close up. I forgot to tell you that we laid out three lengths of Stretch-Tite (my favorite brand of plastic wrap) overlapping each sheet about 4 inches. Then we carefully wrapped the plastic around the dyed yarn and then pounded it to ensure the dye touched 100% of the yarn. Then we rolled it up in a sausage roll as you see above. Notice the latex gloves to protect our hands from the dyes.
I don't have the instructions, so I'm not sure of the specifics on this one - I don't know if it was 2, 5 or 10 minutes.
We pulled the yarn sausage out of the microwave and let it cool. This is very important. You MUST let the yarn cool as it is extremely hot inside the sausage - and as you pull off the plastic, steam escapes which can cause some serious second degree burns! Trust me on this one - wait and let your yarn cool down. Have another coffee.
Then we rinsed the yarn in the laundry sink. All the excess dye is soaked up by the yarn in the microwave process. See how clear the water is? Some dyes might bleed a bit. Don't worry. Just rinse the yarn until the water comes clean.
Finally, we hung the yarn from a low lying tree branch to dry. I squeezed out the excess water from the yarn to speed the drying process. We repeated the friendship dyeing process for all three hanks of yarn.
Here are three hanks of friendship yarn. From left to right - Mine; Michelle's and Joanne's. We all agreed that we will have wonderful memories of our yarn dyeing day when we wear our hand-dyed, hand-knit socks.
What a great day of dyeing. I never have to fear dyeing ever again!