I decided yesterday morning to get the dyeing done for the Fair Isle socks project. To tell you the truth, I am really anxious to get started on it, I just can’t wait. So I dug out the dye pots, the wool, the dyes themselves and got started. The first thing I did was divide the white and grey wool up into lengths that weighed one ounce each. Then I put the white in one container to soak, the grey in the other. Before I added the wool to the water I added a little bit of dawn as a wetting agent. Then I picked out which color dyes I was going to use. I have an idea of how I want the socks to look, so it is mostly darker colors; navy blue, cardinal, violet, turqoise, nugget gold, bronze green, and magenta.

After getting everything ready, I filled my two dye pots up with cold water, and added 1/4 a cup of vinegar. You need one cup of vinegar for a whole pound of fiber. I knew I was only going to be dying two or three ounces in each pot, but I wanted to make sure the dye struck. I then ran a cup of water into the measuring cup I use to mix dye. I added 1/4 a teaspoon of navy blue to the mixing cup. (I do this with a dust mask and gloves, and I do it over a protected surface so no dye particles get on to my counters or in my lungs.) After mixing until it disolved, I then added it to the first container. I repeated the process for the second container, adding cardinal dye to the second pot. Into each of those pots I added 2 ounces of the white and 1 ounce of the grey fiber that had been pre-wetted.

After bringing the pots to just under a boil, the heat is left at a simmer under the pots for 30-40 minutes. At this point, I have to deviate from standard procedure a little. I only have two dye pots. Usually, you leave the wool to cool down in the dye pots until the next morning. I wanted to get all the dyeing done today though, so what I do is transfer the fiber to buckets, dye stock and all, to cool down. Once it is cool enough to touch, I dump it, one color at a time, into the washer to spin out the water. That cools it down quickly, without any felting. It then fill the washer with cool water, and put the color in it to soak a little, and then spin it out again. I then hang it to dry. I have never had a problem with excess dye bleeding out on my hands during spinning or knitting later, and so I will probably continue doing it this way.

When I was finished, I had dyed the following amounts–from the white; two ounces of navy blue and cardinal, one ounce each of gold nugget, bronze green, and violet. From the grey; once ounce each navy blue, cardinal, magenta, bronze green, golden nugget, violet, and turquoise.

I am excited about the colors just as they are, and am really excited about blending them on the drum carder to get really wonderful colors for the socks. They are going to be so pretty! Posted by Picasa