sock porn for knitting voyeurs.

Friday, September 08, 2006

henry's attic superwash merino roving

looks like brains

wants to be navajo plied (may be just me! navajo plying addict, apparently)

makes me love acid dyes.

i'm a total acid dye convert here, from a long while of food grade only (kool aid and easter egg) dying. no question. i always thought that food grade was better around my toddler and more easy/clean in my tiny kitchen, but not really. i can easily dye even when he's awake, getting a load of dishes clean as the water comes up to temp even.

other reasons to like acid dyes:

* cheap. i would use anywhere from 4-8 packets of koolaid/easter egg tabs per *section*/ounce of wool... about $1-2/oz of wool (on sale). with the acid dyes, a little (like really, a sprinkle!) goes such a long way and is cheaper in the long run. 2% of wool weight = about 2.5 grams of acid dyes for 4 oz; buying in 1/2 oz increments, it's about .81/4 oz of wool (regular retail).

re: regular retail + acid dyes... they usually run about 4.50 for a 1/2 ounce size (dharmatrading). knit picks just started selling jacquard dyes for 3.99 for 1/2 oz, free shipping on +$40 as always.

BUT! support a small biz outfit and get a better price from divaknitting! :) the most expensive OUNCE she carries is just over $4 (looks like they average about $2/oz), and it gets cheaper the more you buy. she doesn't have the range of dharma trading, but what prices! :) I didn't buy my acid dyes from divaknitting (did buy some Opal, shipped same day!)... but i will next time :)

* easy. water + dye + vinegar + heat. same as food grades. (really.)

* better color range. i am a bright color fan fo sho, but sometimes you don't want pastel or neon. acid dyes get you this.

reasons you shouldn't fear the acid dye:

* "it says ACID!* ... well, yeah. it takes acid to set (vinegar), but it won't melt your arms off or anything. (believe me on this one!)

* "in my kitchen?! i cook there!" ... i had to buy a separate pot for dying-- found at my local goodwill, about $6. i use a plastic spoon for moving the yarn and a tiny baby feeder spoon for measuring out dyes, all just for dying. i keep the kitchen foodstuffs up, sealed and away from my "work area" (i do practically everything over my sink, which is located right next to my stove), just like i have to with a toddler who likes to use trashcans for climbing :)

* "my place is too small." ... man, i think i win this one :) granted, i only use small project sized batches at a time (4-6 oz of wool, leave the production to the big boyz!), but even then with an empty clean sink i manage just fine. solid/semisolid dyes go all into the pot at once, like a casserole. when i do multis, i was always a dip-dye girl and lined up mason jars in my sink to dip yarn in and around... used my tiny kitchen counter space to wrap yarn in saran wrap to steam. i hang drying yarn over my sink using U-clamps-- the whole process take up about 3' of space, more for multis (just to be able to spread it out and wrap it up).

* "syntha-what?" ... i use dawn dishwashing detergent for a rinse, no synthrapol. rumor has it it has a neutral pH and is similar in chemical composition to synthrapol (and i can buy it when going on a soda run).

* "i don't have a scale!" ... shh. don't tell monica. i don't weigh my dyes all the time (though i'm coveting a palmscale now, so this may change!) i am dying only for myself and small projects at a time, not worried about repeating colors, so i just go for it.

sometimes i will break out my soehnle myra scale (that is great for weighing +5 gm and splitting balls of yarn, but maybe not so much when trying to find the difference between 1 and 2 gm!) to give myself an idea, but its not necessary.

a tip from my past if winging it isn't for you, buy a "finger scale" (first site i found on google)-- the old me says they're pretty accurate at weighing out small gram sizes, are cheap and if you have a "head shop"/smoke shop/place where young people loiter outside in your town, you can find one locally.

i can see myself becoming more interested in the precision aspect of measuring and recording dye amounts, but i'm happy with my learning-by-the-seat-of-my-pants approach right now.

(edit, 9/11 for reader comments: Sherry W says...

"If you're worried about breathing in the powder, a disposable fine particle dust mask will work fine. Look for ones for drywall sanding at the hardware store. Also if you place the powder in the liquid (and don't pour liquid on the powder), it wets the dye faster and reduces floating bits, too.

Hate vinegar smell? Try lemon juice concentrate (citric acid) instead. They have a similar PH level, so you can use it at about the same measurement as vinegar.")

(i know its time to cut the lists short when the bullets get longer y longer... i'll leave you with this instead:)


ps! i'm going to see the harlot tomorrow :) i'll be the really shy one with superlong, uncombed hair wearing nothing handknit (i think). cookie's calling for a show of hands on who's going, and has a neatstreet jabberwocky contest going on, too.


aquaknits said...

Holy cow that's alot of spinning you're preparing to do! Aren't acid dyes just the greatest? Once I got started there was no turning back. Now if you ever find a use for all those kool aid packets...

hillary said...

Ok, you convinced me. I'm going to (finally) break out the acid dyes. I bought 'em but I've been a little afraid to play with them. No more fear!

lexa said...

You're going to be a busy girl for the next while! Do I see a hand-spun/dyed yarn business in the future? Hope you sell to Canada if so! Have fun seeing the Harlot.

Lolajl said...

The Diva Dye looks interesting . . . I'll have to check it out to see how good these really are. I agree about the range of colors.

HPNY Knits said...

spooky is right. the close-up makes it look like hippos. you are such a pro so fast, you just got the wheel two weeks ago!
wow. I also see a small store is brewing there...

Cookie said...

Oooh, nice to learn about divaknitting. Too bad it's going to take me at least a year or five to get through the current dye stash. Hrm, maybe it's time for a yarn dyeing party...

I hope I get to see you tomorrow! If only there was room for spinning wheels during the Harlot's talk. I would love to see the whole front row lined with wheels. Even if I don't have one.

Don't you have like a gazillion handknit socks to choose from to wear to the event? Not that there's any pressure to do so. I'm just wondering if all those socks you knit are for other people. Or only for decoration or something.

And that last spooky picture? I love it!

Jennifer said...

I thought I was in a fiber induced coma yesterday... The close-up of the Henry's attic... I'm speechless.

Acid dyes are awesome!

Grace said...

Yeah! You've caught the spinning bug, and it looks great! That picture of your little guy is way too cute. Hope to see you there today... I'll be the super shy one with the badly cut short hair and nothing handknitted either. ;-)

Erica said...

Oh my! I had some major catching up to do. Some of my feeds went missing and for the life of me couldn't figure out who all was missing. Got it now. :)

Well, it looks like you've been having a blast with your wheel and the dyeing. Fun stuff!

gray la gran said...

i do love acid dyes, but, when i was a student, our instructors would NOT let us even open a container of the powdery stuff w/o wearing a serious respirator under a ventilation hood! that's the only thing that bothers me about using them now, as i don't have such a set up ... that's also the same reason i'm not doing any soldering (jewelry) right now ... i don't have proper ventilation.
i have tried the wilton's cake frosting dye, and i like it very much, as it's not in powder form.

Melissa said...

Don't you just LOVE acid dyes!!
That looks so much like brains until it's scary. also has pretty cheap acid dyes. Great selection too.
Have fun visiting the Harlot!

Jennifer said...

that dye is really beautiful. i've only been knitting, but dyeing and spinning look more and more tempting...

Chris said...

I like the one-shot dyes that have citric acid in them - it doesn't smell as bad as hot vinegar can!

Becka - The Knitting Wounded said...

I have too much yarn already, why are you making spinning look so inviting?!? Shame on you!

I'm with lexa, you should think about sharing your talents with those who cannot/should not spin...

PBnJ said...

Looks like brains... (*snort!* ha ha ha)

Good job dyeing and spinning, and plying!

Oh, and I just love your superlong hair - seen it in a prev. post...You are so pretty! Have fun at the harlot meeting!

Stacey said...

I can't wait to delve into dying! I got my dyes, have my I need some time!!!!! Thanks for the link to divaknitting - I'll be ordering there next time!

I heard the same thing about synthrapol and dawn...dawn for me!

Sherry W said...

Finger scales are the best thing ever- I have no idea how knitters live without them. They are also great for breaking up sock skeins into two, and estimating if your going to run out of yarn for a project. You can get them on ebay for about $2.

I love to dye, and while I'm not a great talent at the color combos, I can put it on the yarn, and it's fun!


If your worried about breathing in the powder, a disposable fine particle dust mask will work fine. Look for ones for drywall sanding at the hardware store. Also if you place the powder in the liquid (and don't pour liquid on the powder), it wets the dye faster and reduces floating bits, too.

Hate vinegar smell? Try lemon juice concentrate (citric acid) instead. They have a similar PH level, so you can use it at about the same measurement as vinegar.

Teri said...

Those are all excellent points. I'm an acid dye convert too. I had the dye powder for three or four months before finally taking the plunge, and I haven't opened a package of Kool Aid since.

yahaira said...

whoa you're going to be busy! you're spinning looks so awesome...didn't you just start!? once you start spinning up sock yarn make sure to send me some! ; )

Monica said...

LOL I've become the scale police. :)

I haven't used the Palmscale yet, though I hope to use it this weekend to mix up some 2% dye solutions!

Kristen said...

That DOES look like brains. Which reminds me of my knitting zombie joke from last year: If Elizabeth Zimmerman were a zombie, she would walk around moaning, "Skeeeeeeins."

MBT said...

Ooooh timely post for me - Thanks! Bought the Kid and I some acid dyes at Rhinebeck and we are just thinking about breaking them out since she has school holidays this week.

plumbing said...

Such a nice idea. I will also try these steps sometimes.

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