Last weekend, I decided to try my hand at dyeing some sock yarn with Wilton food coloring (previously, I've only used KoolAid). A sweet Rav-pal sent me an assortment package of the dyes a few weeks ago, along with a skein of exactly the yarn I needed for a pair of socks for John (I hadn't mentioned that anywhere - it was a total random coincidence). I looked all over for color-mixing charts that would get me the mossy green color I wanted, and found one, forgetting that most of the directions out there are for icing. When you add heat to the mix, the colors break up. (I knew that in the back of my mind, but had forgotten for the moment.) Edited to add: I definitely used vinegar in the pre-soak and some in with the dye itself.
First, since I had a few skeins of undyed merino sock yarn (another RAK gift (I am so lucky!)), I decided to try dyeing one of those first. I figured I'd end up with some kind of green, which my feet would always happily wear. I played around with it, combining the yellow and violet, which were just not getting it done. So I added some brown. I ended up with a bright green with a touch of greenish brown splotches. I liked it, so I went ahead with the yarn for John, using the hand-painted method instead of the kettle/stove-top.
Somewhere along the lines, something went really wrong. The yarn I put into a gallon Zip-loc bag (to steam in the microwave) was, indeed, a deep mossy green (mostly). What came out... something else altogether. But John liked it, so I decided to leave it as is. After I wound it into a ball (cake), I christened it Crop Circle. (I'm learning that you must name your yarns.) I haven't named the green yarn yet... still thinking on it.
Yesterday I packed my emergency knitting bag* for a road trip. (John had to film an interview in Ohio.) I cast on and just knit and knit, the whole way there. There was some rearranging once we arrived (due to vehicle constraints), and I stayed with John's partner's wife and young daughter. We did some gardening, and walked around, and blew bubbles, and I just blathered on nonstop. Later, we went back inside, and I took up the knitting again. I got more done than I think I've ever accomplished in one day, especially on a sock! Plus, I was able to spend time with some lovely people, and stay away from this blasted machine (and not think about certain things) for most of the day.
Later, we went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant they like. The food was fabulous, the company excellent, the service... confusing.
Plans: try a different method of heat-setting the yarn; get some other mordant (I think that's the right word) besides vinegar; try some commercial dyes (which will mean a dedicated set of pans, dishes, etc., but might be worth the trade-off for the control).
*It's so corny; I was saving this bag until I could actually pack it as an emergency kit. Someday I will, and I'll tuck it under the seat in John's car. But it's a great regular knitting bag, with little pockets all around. Highly recommended.