I just got home from a long day, bombarded by Microsoft and vendor marketing messages, surrounded by a throng of programmers, hoping in vain for free prizes, trying not to ingest too much sugar or caffeine while battling the drowse-inducing dim lighting and technical presentations. Yes, I attended Microsoft's Launch of Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005, and, excuse my English, it was a long ass day. I went for my free copies (yay!) and info on what's new for web developers (that happened at 3:30 pm; keynote began at 9). My computer needs a rebuilding and new software is a good excuse for getting to it. Lots of knitting and spinning will accompany hours of "Click next to continue".

I bring this up because my brain is mush; I hope this post makes sense.

The dye fest

When I say "dye fest", realize it's all relative. I dyed 4 oz of fiber. Not much for some (most?), but 4 batches and a full night for me. I used those $2 packs of 4 bottle food coloring, plastic wrap and the trusty nuker. I couldn't find easy google guidance on mixing or amounts, so I tried some of the recipes on the back of the box, winged some, and basically used a ratio of 2 tsp of hot water with ~5 drops of dye.

Fiber: first 2 are 1 oz each of Finn; last 2 are 1 oz each of merino. Soaked for an hour or two in water with a glug of vinegar. Squeezed out the excess water before dyeing, but they were still pretty wet.

My first batch: red, "orange" and yellow (forgot to photograph before rolling). I used 2 tsp of each color, which was not nearly enough (it's easier to see in the later photos).

Dyeing fiber - wrapped Dyeing fiber - rolled

Batch 2: Greens and blues, 3 colors. Doubled my amounts, 4 tsp of each, but didn't use all of it.

Dyeing fiber - colored

Wrap and roll, baby.

Dyeing fiber - ready to nuke

While it was nuking (on for 2 mins, off for 2, repeat x 4), started batch 3. "Purple" and the leftovers of the previous batch:

Dyeing fiber - colored

And batch 4: whatever was left over. Nuked batch 3 and 4 for 3 sets of on/off instead of 4; the water looked pretty clear.

Dyeing fiber - colored

Here they are cooling. See the arrow? There was a small tear in the plastic and some of the red got in and made purple. :)

Dyeing fiber - post nuking Dyeing fiber - post nuking

Once (mostly) cool (I'm impatient!) I rinsed in similar temp water; the water was quite clear. Used a towel to remove excess water. Hung on a hangar to dry.

Dyeing fiber - rinsed

Next morning:

Dyeing fiber - dried

There are more patches of white on the reds and greens than expected. Also, though it may not show in the photos so well, the colors are more muted when they're cooked and dry. While they're wet and cooking, they look much more vibrant. Next time I'll use much more solution, though I think the ratio of water to dye is fine. Also, the purple wasn't very purple, more magenta, I think; and the "orange" could be less red. Obviously, need to tinker with mix ratios.

Still, I really like the reds and greens. I stripped and pre-drafted the reds this morning and it looks so purty. And the range of colors is much greater than with Kool Aid (can only get a few colors here). It was fun to mix and play. And knowing it was food-safe made it less stressful. I'm gonna get some acid dyes soon, though. I want more control over colors and saturation. I'm hooked!

PS I lurv my new spindle!