I seem to have been bitten by a doily bug! I just can’t get over how fast they get done, and how beautiful they are. To the point that I’ve made 2 since the beginning of this very week. 🙂
I’ve never really got along with knitting cotton in the past. The maximum I made were coasters and a mobile pouch, and then I couldn’t really think of much to make with them. They seemed to strain my arms holding onto the slippery thread. So they were relegated to the back of my cupboard where they languished for a looong time.
With the Ravellenics starting in a couple of days, I decided to challenge myself this way. What better to do than use up old thread and make pretty stuff? So I sat down and carefully looked at all the notes by the designer and thought long and hard. Then I just started doing it! I still wasn’t convinced that this was a good idea… till I starched out my first doily. Then I was hooked!
Both doilies that I’ve made have been designed by Linda Browning, for whom I’m tested earlier. The doily designs were her gift for testing!
After my last post on thread on dyeing the cotton yarn, I had a couple of people ask me to note down the entire process. So i took that as an excuse to finally dye the last hank of yarn I had. This also meant that it would have to be green because that’s the only dye I have left… any more would mean a trip to Commercial Street, and I really don’t have time for shopping now.
So here goes:
4-5 ltr vessel that you wont ever use for food again
Ensure the cotton yarn is tied neatly into a hank. This is necessary to ensure that you can manage the yarn while dyeing.
Though you are tying it in 2-3 places, ensure it is not too tight. The dye will not reach the inside yarn otherwise
Heat about 3 lts of water to lukewarm and add the vinegar. Add the undyed yarn to the water and set aside until cool.
Keep turning the yarn intermittently to ensure that the entire yarn is washed well in the vinegar. Drain and set the yarn aside
The purpose is to wash off all impurities in the yarn and also traces of other dyes. This especially helps when you’ve tried with food coloring, and it didn’t work. I did this, so I know!
Drain the vinegar water, and replace with clean water.
Bring the water to boil, and then add salt and dye and mix well to ensure no lumps remain. Here I added a 1/2 tsp of turmeric just to see if it affected the final green. The last time I’d used the same dye, I got a forest green, So I wanted something different.
Let the water boil for a few minutes more and then add the cotton yarn.
Turn off the flame immediately. This I learnt with trial-and-error. The dye shop guy told me to boil the yarn with the dye. When I did this, the yarn kinda crinkled up. Not sure why, but when I don’t boil it, the yarn remained smooth. Boiling didn’t affect the softness of the yarn, but just gave an odd look to the yarn.
Keep turning the yarn in the dye every 2 minutes to ensure it reaches all parts of the yarn
Once the dye has cooled off, and while turning, you feel that the yarn has caught the color properly throughout the yarn, take it out
Drain the dye and wash the yarn thoroughly until it stops bleeding color.
Add a bit of detergent to water, and wash again till it stops bleeding color.
You may also soak the yarn in fabric softener to help it maintain softness (I do this)
Dry it out 🙂
Here is a pic of all my experiments side-by-side. Note the difference in the green yarns. Apparently turmeric does change the color, But I need to wait and watch if this effect is permanent. Turmeric isn’t really known for permanent cotton dyeing properties. In fact I always manage to get it off my cotton clothes when I have a cooking accident…
Also note the slightly less crinkly nature of the center yarn. Thats the lastest one that I’ve written about.
Most of what I did was a mix of what I learnt through various websites on dyeing, and a bit of experimentation on my part. Had some hit, and some misses… but that’s what learning is all about!
On a recent shopping expedition to Commercial Street, I found some undyed cotton yarn for knitting. I was supposed to be looking for lace weight yarn and mohair when I found this. Actually, I found the others as well, just added this also to my basket. But as I’d never dyed anything before (school days don’t count!), the shop keeper kindly helped me out with the name of a dyer nearby.
When I reached the dyer’s shop, he was very clear that all he had were acidic dyes, and they just wont work on cotton. He did give me instructions of how to use it though, always ending with the disclaimer that the color wont hold! 🙁
Anyway, once I got home, I gathered by supplies: vinegar, food coloring (just in case it works), salt, and a large vessel that I was sure I would never use for food ever. And finally courage: to be faced with something that might not work.
The food color experiment was a dud. But am very happy with the way the acidic dyes caught the color. After repeated washing (including in detergent) it stopped running color, and now looks bright and fresh!
So i now have 2 gorgeous hanks of cotton yarn: maroon and dark green! And I still have 1 hank remaining… gotta see what to do with it! 🙂
After my last attempt to make a pouch in wool, I wondered if I could make the same with thread.. this time with knittingcotton. I did buy some knitting cotton, but more for the reason to try and make some tops to wear with jeans (for myself) or to try n make some doilies … again inspiration from the crochet work sis-in-law makes. 🙂
So this is the result from my attempts.
Pouch 1 was done in a single color… I took a guess with the size. It came out a lil squat, but actually fit a Blackberry like a glove. The design is something I came up with myself. Am not sure if it already exists, but I definitely didn’t see it anywhere! 😀
Pouch 2 was my first ever attempt to use 2 colors while knitting. Nice job, even if i say so myself! 😉 The design is called Bird’s Eye.