We all mess things up, it’s a fact. Sometimes the gods of crafting do not look at us in a favourable light and some kind of catastrophe ensues. That is why I am starting this new segment, Monday Mishaps. The things I’ve done that have really REALLY not worked out in my favour.
Over the weekend I was dyeing yarn with Alanna. I was mixing some dye for the first time. My process includes me putting a powdered dye into water and adding some dish soap then shaking it. Usually this works very well, the dye is mixed and we go on our merry way.
This time a lot of the dye adhered to the bottom of the jar. Still thinking with a clear head I tried to mix it with a spoon. After poking and jiggling the spoon around in the jar for 10 minutes I realized this was not going to be solved with a little stirring action.
Scraping the dye powder off the bottom of the jar, I lifted it out. There was about a tablespoon and a half all stuck together in a huge clump. Wearing my gloves, I tried to break it up by hand, but it was wet the whole way through and had the consistency of cookie batter. I decided to put this lump in another jar and pour boiling water over it in order to dissolve the remaining dye into something I could work with.
Remain calm! This is not where I went wrong. I didn’t manage to get burned or anything, the plan actually worked well and all the clumps of dye dissolved into a perfectly smooth liquid. It was after my success that the problems started.
All that was in the dye was water and dye powder and, if you’ve ever dyed yarn, you know that is not all that is needed to prime the dye. I needed the proper proportions, so I poured the dye from the Mason jar into a measuring cup. Let’s just say that mason jars were not made for clean pouring capabilities. I managed to only spill a little of it and only onto my hands and the counter (which was covered by plastic).
I filled the measuring cup with the amount of water I needed and went to pour the dye back into the Mason jar. However, now I had a two-cup capacity measuring cup with two cups of dye in it. While measuring cups were made for pouring, they are by no means a precision tool, and when you are messing with dark purple dye…. You want precision. More dye on myself and more dye on the counter seeping underneath the other jars and getting on the bottom of things that could easily leave a dark ring on another surface if moved somewhere unprotected.
I added the rest of my ingredients to the Mason jar and decided to combine this jar with the other jar of dye. You would think that I would have learned by this time. You would think that I would be smarter than to attempt another pour. You would be wrong.
I started pouring from one jar to another and it registered with me that one of said ingredients is dish soap. Dish soap has bubbles. When you pour dish soap, the bubbles get bigger. Dish soap bubbles made from dye would carry the colour of previously mentioned dye. Well crap.
I would liken the rising soap bubbles to lava rising to the mouth of a volcano. My kitchen island was now Pompeii, and we were running out of time. A panicked look at Alanna told me she had been watching me do this and through my external monolog, realized it was about to go horribly wrong. Liquid dye acts like water and it is easier to control, you can soak it up and there are no ill effects. Bubbles filled with dye would stick to my gloves, my arms, anything and drip off when I moved to wash them off. The sink was only a few steps away, so I prepared to move. Alanna, armed with a paper towel, followed underneath me preventing any spillage on the way there. Luckily we thought at the speed of light and got to the sink just as the bubbles boiled over. Mind you I still had bubbles all over me, but being at the sink, I was able to wash them off.
I continued pouring the dye into the jar and swiping at the bubbles whenever they threatened to overcome the jar entirely. Alanna started wiping up the dye that got on the island and we managed not to completely destroy my kitchen. Victory!
There was dye everywhere though, we were joking about it not being my finest moment as a dyer.
That has been my moment of doom for the week! It wasn’t really to do with knitting, but still left a lot of mayhem in it’s wake… and dye… on my hands. It looked like I was losing circulation in my fingers quite badly. Luckily I remembered that rubbing alcohol removes just about anything and it significantly reduced the colour on my hands… and arms.