Thursday, September 28, 2006

Hand Dyed Child's Raglan

Hey look a sweater! Ok I am cheating. This is not a recent FO. Actually I finished it in June having worked on it for most of the Boston Pride Parade. Of course immediately there after it was much to warm to wear a wool sweater.Plus I didn't have a blog to share it with you all then. So here it is, just in time for the rather chilly mornings we have been getting in the early hours before school. The yarn was a recycled 100% wool cabled sweater. Actually that sweater was also the source of the beet dyeing I did recently.

We dyed the yarn with grape koolaid, and I learned a lot of neat things about the relative reaction rates of red and blue food dyes. I actually purposefully greated a dye gradient by folding the skeins of yarn in the dye pot so that each was equally on the top and bottom. Then I sprinkled the koolaid on the surface of the already warm water and wool, occassionally poking with a pair of chopsticks.

If you look on the back of a package of Koolaid, you will discover that it has both red and blue dye to make the purple color we know of as grape. What I discovered was that the red reacted almost immediatedly on the surface, with only a small amount being able to diffuse to the center layer and then react. The blue on the otherhand had such a relatively slow reaction time that diffusion was dominate, to the point where in the end I actually had leftover light blue that had not reacted.

This resulted in a red purple at the top, a light purple in the center and a light blue towards white at the bottom. I had really pictured a variegared purple in my head though. In order to get this finished product, I ended up taking the yarn at this point out of the bath, mixing a homogenous mixture of 2 more packets, and then dumping the yarn back in. The results... well you can see for yourself.

I am pretty happy with how both the color and the knitted object turned out, even if there was some pooling happening. The pattern was just a bottom up raglan sweater. Theoretically it was for a size 10 (plus an extra inch in length for her long torso) because I wanted my daughter to have some time before she outgrew it. It looks like another sweater is in order though, since I don't think this one will fit past this winter.

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