Cured of dyeing

I’ve been working on a skirt, knit out of Lion Kitchen Cotton, that I’ve been making up as I go. I wanted the bottom to be scalloped lace, and instead of merely using one color, I was thinking of alternating the rose I have with a lighter pink, as that’s the way it appears in my knitting pattern dictionary and it’s really pretty. Lion has a light pink (#101) but after a long stint of googling and calling stores, I’ve given up on ever finding some. It appears to be pure urban legend. Instead, I thought I’d go wild and spend the $5 on a ball of white kitchen cotton and a pack of RIT dye, since everyone in my knitting group raves about the results they get by self-dyeing. I got home, unwound the yarn, boiled the water, and started making test strips. They kept being way too bright, so I would dump out half of the dye-filled water, refill the pot to the brim with fresh, and try another strip. I was trying to be neat, but still had to do some fierce scrubbing to keep the red dye from permanently staining the white plastic and paint in my kitchen, and I had a miserable time trying to keep my hands clean so that I didn’t inadvertently leave handprints everywhere.

By the time I got to the one on the far right, I was happy with the color, so I dumped the full tangle of white yarn in. Something obviously went awry in my test-strip process, however, as this was the god-awful result:

Kevin’s only comment was a somewhat horrified “did you MEAN to do that?” Utterly defeated, I put the mass of fluorescent mauve horridness out on the deck to dry, and left it there for a week. I don’t know if it was the sun(?), but when I finally went out to reclaim my cookie sheet, the top half was a lovely light pink. The bottom, however, was just as hideous as before. I flipped in and left it outside for a few more days, then I ran it through the laundry once to try to lighten it (worked a bit, but mostly just turned it into a 236-yard snarl). I’ve spent the last week picking out the myriad knots so that I could wind it up.

It’s finally done, though it clashes with the skirt, and I don’t think I’ll use it for anything else — I think this ball will ultimately be going the way of the red cotton-ease and will be gifted to a crafts program somewhere. Chalk this up as a learning experience: no more dyeing. Back to the single-toned lace for the skirt.

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