For the last couple of months I have been trying to get granddaughter F interested in knitting. As many of you thought, four years old might be too young. I now think so too – at least with F; she’s much more “action” oriented. So I thought, “What is more action oriented than colorful dye baths of boiling water?” 🙂
Thus when F arrived to spend the day with me yesterday, I said, “I am going to dye today! Would you like to dye with me?” She looked at me, stricken, and said, “Oh no, Mormor [Norwegian for grandmother]! Please don’t die! I don’t want to die!” and burst into tears.
Oh dear …
When I explained the difference between “dye” and “die,” however, she wanted to dye. (She’s a trooper.) F donned her apron.
The night before I put four skeins in a dull pale blue of Cascade Yarn’s 220 Superwash Sport (100% Merino, 50 g/125 meters) into a soapy bath. After soaking over night, they were ready to dye. F’s favorite color is pink, but I had no pink dye among my containers of Jacquard Acid Dyes. I did, however, have a Brilliant Blue (#623) and Purple (#613), and she liked those colors on Jacquard’s dye chart. I made the powdered dyes into liquid dyes in small empty glass jars (with lids). We prepared four separate dye baths on the stove. F’s first responsibility was to fish out the skeins from their overnight soaking and put one in each pot and then turn on the heat. As the pots neared boiling, F poured varying amounts of the purple and blue dyes into each. Once she liked the color in each pot, she added about 3/4 cups of white vinegar.
Here are two pictures of the results. F was so excited to see the different colored yarns emerge from the baths. Two of the yarns are more purple; the other two are bluer. F exclaimed, “They’re the same, but different!”
I told F that I would knit or weave a surprise for her mommy using these yarns. I first thought the Color Affection scarf might be a good showcase for F’s first dying project, but the sport weight is a little too heavy. I’m always open for suggestions! Any thoughts?!
By the way, my lesson learned: Don’t leave a 4-year-old watching the yarn without keeping a close eye. I must have forgotten to tell her not to poke at the yarn too much. I turned my back to wash dishes and each time I turned around she was gleefully poking the yarn. Once I found her using a chopstick to create whirlpools in each pot. The result: despite four choke ties, the skeins of yarn are so tangled that it took me 1-1/2 hours to untangle one.
Oh well, in the grand scheme of life, tangled skeins of yarn isn’t important. Having fun with your grandchild is.