My Dye-O-Rama yarn is finally dyed and dried and ready to go out! Wanna see?

In the knit:

Pink Panther

Skeined up:

Pink Panther skeined

A light steaming and a bath did not entirely remove the crinklies, but I don't think it'll be an issue in the knitted item. I wonder if the cooking or the cooking and drying in knitted form made the crinklies so pronounced.

This time 'round I made several changes in hopes of having clearer color bands. Overall, the changes worked great. But first things first... How I did it the first time.

Knitting blanks

Here's my knitting machine (one of them):

knitting machine

It's a Studio SK860, I think, bought new several years ago. Suffice it to say, I had grand plans.

And me using it:

using the knitting machine using the knitting machine

Scott took them, despite protestations of unwashed hair and grubby clothes.

This machine knits primarily dk to light worsted weight yarns. I'm no machine knitter so don't hold me to that. But that's a rough range. I "cast on" with grippy waste cotton over 30 needles at dial setting 6 and knit about 8-10 rows. Then I switched to the Kona superwash and knit 200 rows (I weighed as I went; 200 rows = 2 oz). Back to the grippy waste cotton for another 8-10 rows and then off the bed. Rinse and repeat for the second skein.

knitted blank

Note: this made a very loose fabric, which worked out fine. The yarn fulls when washed and dyed, and you don't want a tight gauge getting in the way of dye penetration.


I soaked the blanks in hot water with a bit of dish detergent and rinsed gently before using. When ready, I laid out my protective plastic drop cloth and plastic wrap and unrolled the blanks onto the plastic wrap (stockinette stitch, as you know, wants to curl up something fierce, so I did my best to lay it flat).

blanks laid out

Dye calculations

I based my numbers on Deb Menz's Color in Spinning, past experience and guesstimation. Good old guesstimation. Here's how it went. (If you really hate numbers and would rather skip to the fun part, jump to the Aside).

My color pattern was:

Pink Panther - color repeat

To figure out how much dye to use, first I figured out what dye intensities I wanted. I knew I'd get good saturated colors with 4% dye solution, and then I figured 1% ought to do it for the greys and light pinks.

Pink Panther - color repeat

Next, I figured out what percent of the whole each band was. The total was 6", so each (non-white) color was 2/12 of the whole. Here's where it gets a little interesting. If you like math. If not, maybe the opposite.

If I were doing a straight 4% intensity calculation, I'd have:

     4 (percent) x 2 oz = 4 x 56 g = 224 mL of 1% dye solution

But, since we're only looking at a portion of the whole, say the black band:

     4 x 56 g x 2/12 = 37.3 mL

because the black takes up only 2/12 of the whole. Right. And for the 1% bands, I decided to dilute the 1% dye solution to .25%, so that the calculations would be the same as above. Same amount of liquid, different amount of dye.

Last step (are your eyes glazed over?) -- my knitted blank ended up being 36" when laid out, so I was able to fit exactly 6 full repeats in there. What luck. So for each 1" stripe (or set of 1/2" stripes), I used:

     37.3 mL / 6 = ~6 mL


To be honest, you can just wing it and put as much as looks right to you. If you want consistent stripes, then use the same amount for each stripe. It's that easy.


I laid out measuring tape next to my blank. Following the color pattern, I added the dye and skooshed in to make sure it got all the way through to the other side. I started with black and did all the black stripes, then did the pink stripes, then the lighter colors.

dyed blank

Above, the black bands were placed and skooshed between the 6" and 7" marks, and 12" and 13" marks. The grey was placed over the migrated black sections. I used more pink than calculated because I wasn't happy with the intensity. Hence, it migrated more.

dyed blank

I spritzed a nice layer of vinegar over the whole shebang. After nuking and forgetting. Doh!

Time to fold the plastic wrap in to the middle to seal it up and then carefully roll:

wrapped and ready to go

Nuked for the usual [~2 mins on, several mins off] x 3.

I was worried that the black would run, so I unwrapped fairly soon after and soaked in hot water with a bit of dish soap. (Ideally you'd let it sit and cool so the dyes absorb in, yada yada. Also, Kona is superwash so I knew the temperature change wouldn't felt it.)

cooked and cooling

You can tell there is much less white here than before nuking.

ready to dry

Also, there are a bunch of areas where the black drooled, plus one section where I accidentally spattered black... I wasn't quite happy with how it turned out so I made a bunch of modifications and tried again. That's the photo at the beginning of the post! Details on that coming up.