Daily Archives: February 6, 2015

EXPERIMENT: Dying my own yarn (part 2)

20150203_174022My hands are pink. Very pink. First they were green, now they are pink. So I guess that is the first point I want to make: Please god, use gloves and rinse your yarn very thoroughly to get off any unbonded dye. Ugh. I guess in terms of whether or not this experiment made my hands turn colours this has not been a big success. HOWEVER! In terms of whether or not I was able to make awesomely dyed yarn, this has been EXTREMELY successful.

After the first dye the balls looked pretty cool but due to my not balling them tightly enough and due to my having squished them repeatedly the dye ended up penetrating really far in to the balls and they became borderline solid coloured. The blue in particular really penetrated through, which would have been fine except I had been hoping for more of a colour gradient/ombre thing to happen.

Undeterred I gave the yarn a good rinse and then reballed the yarns, this time in the opposite direction so that they (slightly) lighter sections were on the outside. I gave them all a bath in some pink dye with the hopes of creating a pink – yellow gradient and a blue-purple gradient.

Mission accomplished.

The gradient turned out wonderfully, much better than I anticipated I’d be able to accomplish!

Now, before I get all excited and proud I do need to admit that the red dye hasn’t set particularly well. I tried very hard to rinse the yarn properly to get off the excess dye but clearly I didn’t do a good enough job because the dye is still coming off on my hands while I knit with it. Once I’m done knitting them I will try to give them a proper soaking and rinse, but regardless I’m expecting the dyes (especially the pink) to mellow out quite a bit when I felt them. Maybe it won’t, who knows, but I’m concerned.

I am about halfway through knitting up my project using this yarn. The first mitten is just about done and pretty awesome looking if I do say so myself. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the colours merge and blend when they are felted. Even if the colours mute out some, the colour transition should be pretty fantastic.


Part one of my yarn dying experiment

Part three of my yarn dying experiment

Knitting’s multifaceted benefits

My past obsessions include:

  • Supernatural (TV)
  • cauliflower
  • making quilts
  • Guitar Hero
  • sketching
  • lavender (the plant/scent not the colour)
  • Kenny vs. Spenny
  • Classic Rock (especially the band Bad Company)

I have an obsessive personality type. This is not a secret nor is it anything new. Everyone who knows me understands I am this way and in general it is tolerated and mildly amusing to other people. I go through fits and starts of being obsessed and laser focused on different things, and I think my need for an outlet is important to my ability to function day to day. Intensity is not something I lack in any aspect of my personality, and I think I need something to pour all my pent up energy and emotions in to in order to not drive everyone in my life absolutely insane.

It is for this reason that there are some skeptics among those who know me in regards to my interest in knitting. They see it as just being the next obsession and expect that I will move on to something else before long, and maybe they’re right…. but I don’t actually think they are. I don’t see my love of knitting abating, and I have a couple very good reasons for believing this.

Knitting is productive

I have things to show for it, useful things, pretty things. Things that I enjoy or that others enjoy. Time spent knitting never feels like wasted time because I can always see my progression through a pattern, I can measure in centimeters what I have done.

Knitting is structured

It is organized, ordered, and controlled. I am someone who loves order and lists and clear boundaries. There is syntax. It is worth mentioning that my “day job” is computer programming which is one big pile of structure and rules and syntax, so a hobby that follows a similar format makes sense. Knitting is working with my love of structure.

Knitting is relatable, even to non-knitters

The reward center in your brain releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine when you do something pleasurable. […] “Dopamine, in and of itself, is our natural anti-depressant,” Levisay says. “Any time we can find a nonmedicinal way to stimulate that reward center … the better off we’re going to be.”

There’s survey evidence to support crafting’s dopamine effect. In one study of more than 3,500 knitters, published in The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 81% of respondents with depression reported feeling happy after knitting.


FromThis is your brain on crafting on CNN.com

Knitting can be enjoyed by pretty much everyone, regardless if they are a knitter or not. Someone doesn’t need to know the difference between a knit and a purl to be able to appreciate a knitted hat.

Knitting is therapeutic

This has been proven by a number of studies, I’m not just making this up. Knitting (and other similar hobbies) have a very meditative, relaxing effect on the mind and body. For me, someone who always has about eight bazillion things running through my mind, knitting allows me to clear away a lot of that mental clutter and focus. I do my best thinking when I am knitting. Knitting makes me rational and logical when emotions and worries threaten to push me to the brink.

Knitting can be shown off

I am a show off. When I am good at something or proud of something I want people to notice and comment on it, and the simple fact that I am WEARING the thing I am proud of it really increases the odds of my getting complimented on it.

Knitting can be enjoyed and appreciated on many different levels

You can truly make knitting be whatever you want. You can make it be all about the process, the exactness and perfection of each stitch, the mastery of the techniques. You can also knit for the joy of finishing an item, the pleasure in being able to say “I made this!”, the satisfaction in completing a task. You can knit for the creativity. You can relish beautiful colours, decorative stitch patterns, and the different textural experience that comes from different fibers. You can knit for whatever reason feels good to you.

Knitting is always growing and changing

There are always new patterns to try, new fibers to use, new techniques to attempt. Knitting is endless in the things to learn and try and master, and it can forever remain novel and keep my attention.


So yes, while I do have a long history of bouncing around to different interests and obsessions, this time it feels truly natural and perfect. It appeals to me and my nature on so many different levels that I just don’t see my interest waning.