Yesterday, my kitchen became a smelly, colorful mess. There was chartreuse on the floor (and me), fire red on the counter (and me), spruce on the dishwasher (and me), and black on the table (and me). The fumes were permeating the house to the extent that we had to turn off the air conditioning, set up a fan and open all the windows in 96-degree humid-as-the-steamerpot heat. I had my mad scientist gear on — goggles, aspirator and latex gloves — so I didn’t care (with a crazy grin on my face). I was on a mission to dye three different colorways and I was going to get it done no matter what!
While two were done and hanging to dry on the line outside, I started to work on a third skein in another colorway. When I finished dyeing it, I put it in the pot to steam, and started on a fourth skein in yet another colorway. At this point I was racing the clock because I had a 6:00 p.m. appointment to keep at Circuit City to get Sirius Satellite Radio installed in my car. The third skein was really starting to tick me off though, because the colander it was sitting in kept falling in the pot of boiling water. After the second time, I started to lose my cool and got my teen to help watch it while I finished the fourth skein (in a big hurry).
Finally, that confounded third skein finished steaming so I put that off to the side to cool down. The fourth skein was done being dyed, yet it still had to be steamed. There was no time to do it though, so I left it to sit in a bowl, wrapped up in plastic like a big yarn sausage. I would steam that one when I got home later.
We all went out and dropped off the car at Circuit City, then drove over to Chili’s to have dinner. We had 2-3 hours to burn, and by the time we got done dinner and dessert, Circuit City hadn’t called us yet, so we went to Boscov’s. My purpose was to get a new set of Pyrex dishes to solve the my-colander-keeps-falling-in-the-huge-steaming-pot issue. The new set was for us to cook in, the old square Pyrex dish that we frequently used in our cooking was now going to be retired to dyeing duty.
No phone call yet, and my youngest was pestering us to go to Toys R Us and have a look around so he could start Christmas “listing”. He made a beeline for the Hot Wheels cars… the ones he can drive. “Look, Mom!!! This one has cupholders!!! And a little picture of XM Radio in the back!!! You’ve gotta see this!!!” Is it normal for my 6-year-old to know what XM Radio is? And how to pull my strings??? Yeah… cute kid.
Finally the car was finished and we went home (jamming all the way, of course — satellite radio is way cool). When we got home, I jumped right back in to finish up my last two dyed skeins of yarn. One needed to be washed, rinsed and hung out to dry, and the other needed to be steamed. Calamity almost ensued. As I was unwrapping the third skein from it’s plastic, dark red dye poured out and it kept dripping, getting all over everything, and I didn’t have time to put on my latex gloves. @#$!%#!!! Hello!!! I forgot to add vinegar to my dye when I handpainted it and so the dye was just running out. I had to set the dye, and fast, so what did I do? I screamed for my teen! HELP! Barking orders at him while holding the yarn above the sink (with red dye running up to my armpits), he managed to get some white vinegar in a stainless steel bowl for me, and then I immediately dunked the yarn in it and let it sit. WHEW! The sink and counter literally looked like someone had been murdered, and I had the evidence on my hands!
I used our old Pyrex dish to set the dye in the microwave on my fourth skein while the last one rested in the bowl of vinegar, awaiting its turn. Afterthought: Remember my frustration earlier when I was steaming the third skein in a hurry and the colander kept falling in the pot? Perhaps something/someone was trying to tell me something — ‘Hey dummy, you forgot a most important step! You can’t steam this yet!’ My dyeing angels… I can dream, can’t I? (Yes, I know that God probably doesn’t care about dyed yarn, but who can know the mind of God? You never know…)
Everything finally got finished up, and I cleaned up the mess, although my hands won’t be normal again for a few days (weeks? I don’t know how long it takes for this stuff to wear off) and I have a nice red stripe going from my armpit to my wrist. For all you beginning yarn dyers out there, rubbing alcohol and fingernail polish remover won’t work! If anyone knows what gets acid dye off skin, I’d love to know.