The first thing I'll definitely say about this, *be prepared*!! >.<; Since we've done a bit of Kool-Aid dyeing before, we didn't really think much about having everything set out and were scrambling about the kitchen and house getting things together as we were working. The good thing is, since we've done dyeing before, we have certain things like latex gloves and syringes that are useful for this. (I think we need to hit the med supply store again. FSU using gloves sized for me is ridiculous. Her hands are much larger than mine; she has an octave+1 reach on the piano. Me, I barely make an octave and take size XS to S depending on the maker.) I'm trying to think of where we can get some simple disposable weigh dishes like in a chem lab (and a spatula would be nice...). They're much easier to use rather than tearing up some paper or wax paper and weighing out on them with a plastic spoon.
Using these dyes are very simple. We only did the one skein today (currently drying and making the bathroom smell of wet alpaca). Basically we dyed (over-dyed?) a beige alpaca-mohair-nylon sock yarn from a local spinner (mill?). The sock yarn's available for purchase at the Currie Barracks Farmers' Market here and is ~100gm of yarn. (They make extremely warm socks!) Since FSU knit up a pair of socks for me, we decided to dye one skein with Logwood (a darker brownish colour) so I'll be able to tell the next pair of socks from the current one.
The yarn was prepared by soaking it in water with woolwash (Woolite or Eucalan wash, I'm not sure which) for 30 mins. (Here we ran around trying to figure out what to soak the yarn in and couldn't find anything large enough and finally rinsed out a small rubbermaid wash tub. Of course, I'd previously done Kool-Aid dyeing with the large stock pot so that got used instead. And to top it all off, the last time I pre-soaked wool, I just threw the skein in the sink! Who said we were intelligent today?) :P
Next step was to mix the dye. Here we used a 1 quart mason jar. (Next time I'll sacrifice one of the 1/2 quart jars. I must have a dozen somewhere.) Basically we dissolved the dye in 200mL of boiling water. FSU was a little vigorous when shaking the jar around (these are canning jars! The lids are the little insert lids, not proper ones...) and so it dripped onto the counter when she set it down. ^^; I got most of the dye out but I think there's a slight stain still.
We then decided that we'd do this on the floor, and sliced open a large plastic shopping bag (thank you Cinnzeo for always giving out huge heavy bags...). FSU also grabbed one of our blocking towels to wring out excess water from the skein. I'll say this much, alpaca holds lots of water! I need to learn milking 101, that might make squeezing out all the water from the skein a bit easier. ^^; As it is, after squeezing as much water out as I could, we rolled the skein in the towel and FSU knelt on it to get the rest of the water out.
We then lay the skein out on the plastic and started squirting the dye out over the skein. Since we made roughly 200mL of dye, that's 100mL per side (to get the dye worked in more evenly). Using syringes makes measuring much easier since they're graduated. :P
Once the dye was carefully sprayed over the yarn and worked in, we blotted out the skein using paper towels. It uses a fair amount. We then nuked the skein--initially in a large Ziploc freezer bag held in a smallish pyrex bowl. It's supposed to nuke for 4 mins per side. However, a little into the second side, I thought it might be best to take it out of the bag. I'd just read that over-heating the contents of the bag could melt it. (I was reading that because it felt like the bag was sticking a little to the bowl.) ^^; I'd rather not have melted ziploc on my yarn. So the yarn was nuked for the rest of the time in the bowl.
We're currently at the drying stage, so the yarn's hanging in the bathroom. It's to be rinsed and dried again once that's done. From the looks of things, very little dye comes out after the nuking process, and that dye really doesn't stick to cotton. (We tied the skein in a few more places to keep things together).
From today's experience, I'd say that having a set of supplies just for dyeing would probably be a good idea for this stuff. I don't know what's in these dyes, but unlike Kool-Aid dyeing, the items used aren't foodstuffs. Pre-soaking can be done in a clean sink. Paper towels... it uses "a lot", ~1.5-2 dozen sheets to blot the one skein, so we'll probably try hitting Wal-Mart or Zellers or someplace where we can get bulk paper towels for cheap if we keep doing this. The pyrex bowl is the one FSU uses for soap-making, so it's already dedicated to non-foodstuffs. This dye works well with standard lab-style latex gloves rather than the heavier ones and most things didn't get too hot to handle except the wool when fully nuked.
This dye isn't supposed to dye cotton (and presumably not linens either) and will continue washing out of cotton stuffs. The thread we used to tie the skein is half-dyed so we'll see how much comes out in the rinse.
FSU bought 3 skeins of gems merino when she bought the dyes (she bought 15 colours!) so I'll have to decide how I want to dye the skeins. :P I'll have to think about it a bit. Oh yeah, the dyes didn't dye the syringes so that's a plus. ^_^ I'm also thinking about hitting Mona Lisa and seeing what sort of paint supplies they have that might help with mixing the dyes. Either that or we'll be using styrofoam cups or something. ^^;
Wow, what a... dull(? ish?) post. It's all, did this, this, this, and this. ^^; I want to work out an interesting colourscheme and dye some skeins though. ^o^
And in more interesting(?) thoughts, a plotline came to mind O/N for a GH FF. Shall see if I scribble it out. It's a much more complete concept, so I might want to write this one. ^^;