Saturday, April 10, 2010

A late Easter craft...

Am posting this a bit late to be of any use to egg dyers this year, but in 2011 if you happen to realize that cheap box of egg dyes you grabbed at the store was made in China and seem particularly worrisome ("do not ingest"  & "may stain skin and clothing" & "age 8 and up"  warnings, and markedly NO sign of a "non-toxic, food safe, etc, etc..." statement) and you decide at the last moment not to risk your toddlers skin & clothes & health (as well as who knows what kind of mess to deal with in the aftermath, with a week old infant btw... oh wait, you might not have those exact variables, but I digress.) and grab your bag of food dyes that you keep handy in the kitchen for coloring playdough and wool yarn, and consider that they should probably work on eggs if you add a bit of vinegar to the hot water in ramekins just deep enough for a single egg, than have I got a fun idea for YOU!


It occurred to me that if we used red, yellow and blue dyes we would have a great opportunity to let the girls play around with color mixing. We dipped paper towels in each color for them to rub over the already dipped egg so they could see what colors appeared in each area. I have to say, I think re-dipping the egg in a secondary color would be much better, as the towel kind of rubbed off the initial layer of dye, but feel free to try whatever you method you prefer. Also, powdered food color ended up giving a not ver uniform dye, and in fact collected on the bottom of the ramekins (yellow and red were powder, blue was paste) and kind of speckled the eggs darker where it touched, which I kind of liked, but keep it in mind of you want a very smooth uniform color. 

So, after dyeing all the hard boiled eggs daddy could come up with, there was still most of a ramekin of dye of each color, and not wanting to waste it, I of course suggested that each of the girls dye there own mini hank of wool yarn with which I would knit them a hat or other small accessory. I labeled a gallon ziplock for each of them, placed wool inside with a splash of vinegar and hot water and squished it all around and left it to soak while we ate lunch. Once yarn was thoroughly soaked daddy rung it out (daddy was very involved in all crafts and games, and basically everything that the girls have been up to in the past couple of weeks because, you know, baby boys like to nurse all the time, and generally make it difficult for mommy to do much of anything with big sisters. sigh. ) and put the bags on the table for the girls to drizzle the leftover dye into, but then, of course, we decided, it would really be more precise and personal if the yarn was set in a pyrex baking dish so that they could place the dye just where they wanted, so we did. (I still think the bags would be good, but it is true that the liquid dye might mix and go all over the bag and generally give a different quality look than hand painting the flat hank of yarn...) 

After spooning or pouring every last drop of dye over the yarn, we realized that mommy may have over estimated how much coverage we would get, and that quite a bit of yarn was still pristine off white, so daddy poured a little extra water into the dishes and the girls squished the yarn in it to distribute the dye that was in the yarn already more evenly. It worked quite well! And the little bits of powdery dye "dregs" at the bottom of the ramekins gave really bright spots among the slightly washed over other areas, and everything got covered (though perhaps not as vibrantly as originally expected). 

We then covered each dish with saran wrap (so it could steam without losing too much moisture) and popped them in the microwave for several minutes. Once cooled the yarn was rinsed and allowed to dry, and has not yet ben wound or knitted with, but will, probably, someday. 

Of course, I thought the colors were very nice and the dyeing came out well, and feel somewhat sentimental about my girls first yarn dying. So when I asked Sophia what she would like me to knit for her with the yarn she dyed, she replied "a pink hat!!" and I was unable to answer for several seconds. Of course. A pink hat, I will just knit that right up for you and over dye the whole thing. }-{ (head desk)























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