Tutorial: My First Dye Job

 Behold! My first attempt at dyeing yarn! I must say, I'm extremely proud of myself. 

After interviewing several indie hand-dyers over on KnitNook.net, I was totally inspired to try it myself. This past week, (aside from being glued to Netflix watching Vampire Diaries) I've been watching tutorials on YouTube and reading Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece by Gail Callahan. When Friday rolled around, I couldn't wait to dive in!

I did order a bare skein of sock yarn and some Jacquard acid dyes from Knit Picks but after doing more research, I decided to go the safe route and start off with food coloring. Otherwise, I would have had to invest in a separate pot, a face mask, funnel and all these other misc. tools (which for future reference, my local dollar store amazingly has all of!) Food coloring is at least safe and natural.

So, as you can see in the orange bowl, I had a small skein of 100% wool (leftover Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool) soaking 3 cups of luke warm water and 1 cup vinegar. I let it soak for 30 minutes. 

 
In the meantime, I mixed the dye stock. I just filled 2 separate cups with tepid water, then mixed the food coloring until I got the shade I liked. I placed a few drops on a paper towel to test the shade.
After 30 minutes, I removed the skein from the soak, gently squeezed excess water out and placed it in a flattened plastic bag. I pulled the bottom of the bag up through the middle of the skein to create a kind of mote. Then I poured one dye mixture on half the skein, gently massaging it in. (I stress gently, because you don't want to felt the yarn... which I now see is very easy to do, if you're not careful) Then I poured the other dye mixture on the other half of the skein. 

 Next, I wrapped it up and tossed it in the microwave for 2 minutes, 30 seconds. OK, this part freaked me out a little. I wasn't too keen on nuking plastic... but I suppose it wasn't in long enough to melt. I just tried not to breathe in any fumes upon opening the microwave door to remove it.
After taking it out of the microwave, I let it cool down a bit. I checked to see if the dye had been "exhausted" from the water... and it had! This part made me really giddy because I realized I didn't screw anything up!  -- always a good feeling :P

After that, I rinsed it out in more tepid water with a little dish detergent to remove excess dye-- (which was practically nothing)... then again, gently squeezed excess water out of the skein and hung it on a plastic hanger in my bath tub to dry... and voila!

 I have to say, this was so much fun... and easy! Laura from Gynx Yarns was right... I can see how this is going to become very addicting!