LB has been asking for a new baby gnome. He pulled the “tail” of the other one and unknit a good portion of it. He has been telling me that he “misses” his baby gnome. He loves Gnomie, but he just isn’t the same bedtime companion. I had been toying with the idea of dyeing some yarn, so I decided to dye enough to make a “custom gnome” for the little guy. I had some Paton’s Classic Wool in Aran that would make a good base. We bought some Kool-Aid and some Wilton’s icing dyes on Saturday (I also went to Hanks and bought some natural Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn that I will dye when I get braver).

Step one was to measure out some of the yarn into a skein. I didn’t want to use the whole ball, and I needed it in a longer skein. I used two chair backs to hold the yarn (no way could LB sit still that long, although he did offer). I tied it off with some random white acrylic I had.

Then, I put the yarn in to soak. I got a dishpan for this purpose ($1 at Wal-Mart…see how the dye supplies add up). I put some lukewarm water and a small amount of vinegar in. I then put the yarn in. I pushed it down to get all the air bubbles out. I then let it soak for about an hour (that is how long it took to get the baby to bed…otherwise, I doubt I would have been this patient). Sorry the picture is sideways. I just can’t get Flickr to cooperate right now (it took me all night to upload the photos).

Then, Little Bug and I mixed up some dye. He decided he wanted green and blue yarn. I didn’t have blue Kool-Aid, so we used the Wilton’s. I used a plastic knife. I got a smear of each color and added them to some hot water. It was about 3/4 of a cup of water (not measured, just a guess). I stirred until they dissolved. They looked very bright. LB kept saying he didn’t want his gnome to be too bright. I told him that it wouldn’t be that bright in the yarn.

Then, I put the yarn in a very small crockpot (there wasn’t much yarn…it is the one I use for dips). I put in just enough water to cover the yarn (lukewarm again). I then added the dyes (blue on one half and green on the other). I put on the lid and plugged it in.

After it had cooked for a bit (maybe an hour and a half or so), I added a glug (about a 1/4 cup) of vinegar to the water. That caused the yarn to suck up the dye very, very quickly. The dye exhausted in about 10 minutes after that (the water was clear).

I then shut off the crock pot and let the yarn cool. That took quite a while. I put it into a colander that I got (another $1 purchase just for this). I had to buy a new colander because the ones I use for food are all older than I am (more than 3o years old). They are cracked. They work for food, but would have caught the yarn for sure! I then rinsed the yarn in some room temperature water. The water was clear (that means the dye had set…yay!).

I then hung the yarn up to dry in the bathroom overnight! It actually took much of the next day too. I couldn’t hang it outside because of the wind. It just didn’t dry very quickly.

Here is what it looked like when it was dry. You don’t see much of the blue. It is very subtle. It almost looks like a darker green. LB was super excited about this. He thinks the blue is our little secret (don’t you love how 3 year olds think?). I think that you don’t see the blue much because I added the vinegar first on the green side. Next time, I may put a bit in with the dyes themselves. I also think that the blue was not as concentrated to begin with (it looked very dark in the cup, but there wasn’t as much dye to the same amount of water). LB is happy with the color, so I am not fussed about it. I just know what to do next time if I want the blue to be a bit darker.

Here is the final product all rolled into a ball and ready to become a gnome! So pretty! I asked LB what we should call the color. He dubbed it “Gnome Green”. How appropriate!

I absolutely loved dyeing! It was sooo much fun! I immediately went to KnitPicks and ordered some more bare sock yarn (I feel more comfortable playing with it since it is cheap). When I have had a little more practice, that Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn is going to have it’s turn! Eventually, I may get some acid dyes (Hanks has a whole bunch..and are opening a dye bar!!). Right now, I don’t really want to have anything around that is toxic for the kiddos. Maybe when I figure out where to store all the stuff that I am going to have to accumulate now (that scrapbooking cabinet may need to cleaned out a bit)!

On other news, I also got the May installment of the Nefarious Yarn Club! It is Madame DeFarge (so appropriate, don’t you think?). It is really pretty. I am not sure what it will become (socks, but I don’t know what kind…maybe just plain stockinette socks…seems practical, Mdme. DeFarge would have liked that).