Given some uninterrupted knitting time, I do manage to whip WIPs into shape. Often, they are allowed to sit because I know that when the knitting is finished, I’ll have to confront some other task that is going to hold up the works. Like clearing off the guest bed to be able to block a shawl. You get the idea.
This pair of Grove mittens has been waiting ever so patiently for thumbs since … well, probably since last February. That’s about the time I finished the first pair and experienced the extreme dye run-off from the otherwise utterly wonderful Sweet Grass 2-ply Targhee. The dye did crock on my fingers while I was knitting with it, so I expected the same thing, to happen when this pair got wet. I consulted with Dye/Fiber Oracle Shelia January and textile maven Crazy Lanea in advance and thought I knew how to beat this batch.
Simmering, not felting
“Thought” being the operative term. I started with a simmer. A nice long simmer in vinegary water to try to set the dye. There was no apparent loss of color in the just-short-of-boiling water.
Digression: Yes, this is 100% wool, and yes, it can and will felt (beautifully). But not if temperature remains constant and agitation is kept at a minimum. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can only wash wool in cold water. It’s simply not true.
The run-off begins ...
I placed the mittens in same-temp water with Eucalan woolwash to rinse the vinegar – and saw instantaneous, massive color run-off. Look at the color of the water. Holy Synthrapol, Batman! This time, I know what needs to come next.
As blue as the Aegean ...
It’s time for Synthrapol. A nice still-pretty-darn-warm bubble bath. If you work with yarns that are hand-dyed, or you like blue or red yarns that are hand-dyed, it’s a good thing to have on hand. The water turned cobalt.
Let’s rinse them, and try it again.
How much dye ... ?
Somewhere the Yarn Goddess has her head thrown back and is having belly-laughs at my expense. Come on, already!
This is insane! How can there still be color left in the mittens???
I won’t torture you with more pictures of the same. Suffice it to say that on the third wash, I left the mittens to sit a good while, removed them for a rinse, and then gave up. I will not use 50 gallons of water to rinse a pair of mittens. That’s just silly.
Look - it's only swimming-pool blue!
Time for one last dip in Eucalan to remove any remaining really-not-good-for-anyone chemicals.
Progress! At last!
Suffice it to say that if my mittens should turn a snowman’s head blue, I shall live with it. And if they turn my fingers blue, I’ll manage. (The inside of my winter jacket is bright blue anyway. I would even scoff at the Yarn Goddess if I did not know that retribution would be swift, painful and utterly out of proportion.) The yarn, left by a generous knitter in the Stash Lounge at the KR Retreat in 2010 is wonderfully perfect for New England winter.
I do wonder what the green skein will do, though.