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September 25, 2012 / Gillian


Why didn’t I dye the orange yarn yesterday?  Seriously, how did I not figure out that I was going to finish 35 rounds starting from the center of a shawl in about an hour?  Really?  How did I not know that?  It’s ridiculous.  Ah well, needing to dye the orange today gave me an excuse to make sure the dishes got washed.  Also, waiting two minutes for water to heat up before I put the dye in gave me a little unoccupied time to find the box of Halloween decorations in my closet.  Here’s what happened there…

So this winter holiday season I will be taking the Halloween stuff out and putting the winter shit back first and then putting the Halloween stuff on top of it so that this doesn’t happen again.  I should be doing stuff like cleaning out the closet.  I really should.  So all these things had to come out of the closet in order to get…see that blue plastic storage box off to the back left?  That’s the Halloween stuff.  Mostly, there’s some other random crap in there, but mostly Halloween stuff.  Here’s the problem, there are things in the closet that need to go.  There’s a high chair and the old car seat and the crib mattress.  These are bulky things that no longer have a purpose in my life.   My problem is that I’m torn between my desire to get a couple bucks for these things which are pretty nice and in good condition and my desire to just donate them to Goodwill and  have them out of my life.  Periodically the subject gets discussed at my house.  My husband and I sort of dance around it.  Usually I have had the excuse that I’ve always got the munchkin with me and so it’s hard to get that kind of thing done, but now he’s in kindergarten so…not really an excuse anymore.


Dyeing!  Yesterday I dyed some yarn red.  Dyeing yarn a single color with a single dye is not complicated.  Well…  It can be.  Sometimes getting an even color can be tough, but I’ve always found it pretty simple.  The yarn is never going to be exactly even, but you’ll get close enough, and with hand-dyed yarn you’re not looking for a completely standardized even color because then why bother hand-dyeing it?  Today though, I was dye mixing.  The only “orange” sort of dye I have is called Aztec Gold and it’s sort of a dirty orange.  It’s not bright enough to work in a rainbow setting and I’ve found that I get the best orange by just mixing red and yellow.  So I’m definitely going to get a little more of a variation in the orange than with the red just because the dye separates a little.  What I do is to heat up whatever amount of water I think I’ll need and add the two dyes I want.  In the case of orange, I add the yellow to the water first.  When I make green out of yellow and blue the yellow also comes first.  As much as I don’t really do hard and fast rules, when you’re mixing two colors, I think that it’s a good rule of thumb to put the lighter color in first.  There’s a little extra leeway with that lighter color.  You can worry less about how much you add.  Red and blue can be overpowering though and so it’s a good idea to add them a little bit at a time.  This is my personal experience.  So let me show you some more pictures of my orange dyeing…

Yes, that’s vinegar.  I use it to set the dye and there are plenty of people who disagree with that method, but that’s how I do it and it works for me.  There are the dyes and the soaking yarn and there’s the dye hanging out and waiting to go…

here!  This is actually after I added another cup of water with some more dye.  The yarn on the outer layer of the skein had sucked up most of the dye and the middle was looking either yellowy or totally undyed and so I had to add some more dye.  The second set of dye had a slightly higher red content.  Here’s what you need to know with me.  I’m always flying by the seat of my pants and I just say “Art!  It’s my process!”, but the truth is that I just hate measuring.  It’s why I prefer cooking to baking.  Explaining the process motivates me to be a little more exacting, but my instinct is always to just go for it and that’s usually what works the best for me.  It’s never what I intend, but it’s always what I want.

And now I shall reveal the first section!

I have got to stop making red things.  I won’t…ever.  Red is my favorite color.  It’s just really funny right now considering my recent misadventures in photographing red things.  So…now I really need to find something to knit in the meantime.  Last night I spent a little time on my sock yarn blanket, but I’d like to see if I can’t knock out another little project before the end of the month.

Possibly I’ll start that hat for my munchkin.  Last winter he asked me to make him a hat and he picked orange and purple yarn and so I made him an orange and purple striped hat.  He loved it and he wore it all the time.  This year, however, he wants a new hat because purple is a “girl color”.  The concept of gender specific colors pisses me off and I don’t know where he picked that up  because it certainly wasn’t in my house.  Likely it’s just the world at large.  The “girl toy” aisles in stores are basically giant swaths of pink and purple, so it’s a concept that’s hard to avoid, but I try to emphasize whenever I can that he can like whatever colors he wants.  We have to define ourselves.  He’s five though, he’s got his whole life to learn how to be his own person.  Anyway, so I’m thinking a blue cabled hat and maybe I should just go find that pattern now…


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