So we started off with
- plain white vinegar (1 cup)
- cool water (3 cups)
- these two combined in a large bowl wherein we soaked for about 20 minutes
- 4 skeins of Knitpicks Bare Silk/Merino fingering weight (I re-skeined the one into 4 small, loose skeins, so if the whole was 440 yd/sk. we got about 100 yd in each)
- a package of normal food color (liquid, store brand, red/yellow/green/blue)
- a package of Betty Crocker Neon gel food colors (pink/orange/lime/purple)
- 3 Pyrex microwave safe dishes
- many spoons to mix with
- small cups and dishes for mixing colors in
- our instant kettle full of hot (not boiling) water to mix with food color
- Once the yarn was soaked in vinegar, we gently run it out (don't rinse). After the first skein, I left the yarn wetter to allow the colors to bleed (semi-squooshy to the touch), but if you want very distinct color sections, drier will work better.
- Lay it out as flat as possible in the dishes, to avoid white patches on the bottom.
- Paint, pour, slop, whatever. The color liquid you have in the pan, the muddier the skeins will be, sometimes you want this. You can mash you yarn gently with a (clean) spoon or fork to get the color distributed as you want.
- Microwave on high for 2.5 minute. Take out of the microwave, let rest for 2.5-5 minutes. Microwave on high for 2.5 minutes.
- At this point, the color should be set (any remaining liquor in the pans should be clear and the fiber should have taken up all the dye). Take the skein out and inspect (with a fork, the stuff will be HOT). Bare patches? No biggie, apply more dye and re-microwave. Sort of like batiking, actually, that was a cool discovery.
- Once all dye applications have been microwaved twice and the liquor runs clear, hang them out to dry.
See the second picture? I think we're going to need some more [FBI guys] paper towels! Clean up also consisted of Windex and papertowels with one or two tiny patches of bleach/Comet (the purple and pink gel were a tad stain-y).