Mercury Madness

This is a post of warning and woe.

Don’t EVER use an old-school thermometer for dyeing yarn-or anything else, really. They look super cool, but are not worth the risk. I just had a bit of a scare…here’s the story.

I furiously knit up some mitts yesterday in what was left of my yellow organic merino, thinking I would dye them up when done.


They fit perfectly, and for my first attempt at full mitts, I was pretty chuffed.

I wove all the ends in and prepared them for dyeing this morning.

I popped them in a dye bath and waited for magic. And waited. And waited.

I couldn’t figure out why the dye wasn’t exhausting, so pulled out the thermometer to check, as I couldn’t read it for some strange reason.

The end had snapped off.

I nearly had a heart attack. Not only was there mercury floating about in my dye bath…but it was in my KITCHEN.

I grabbed the pot and ran it out the back door.

It turns out that anything that comes in contact with mercury has to be disposed of as hazardous waste, and as the dye bath which contained the mercury also contained my mittens…well. You know the rest.

Here is how far they got before calamity struck:

What a bummer. I was really liking the way the dye was taking more strongly in some places, but was going for a deeper purple.

Oh. And I also have to dispose of my dye pot, etc. to boot.



2 thoughts on “Mercury Madness

  1. Oooh that’s really scary 😮 Really a shame that you had to throw out your handiwork (heh, HANDiwork). They look great.
    At least it wasn’t a full size garment, right? But still… commiserations!

    • Thank you!! Yeah, Thank GOD it was only mitts and not a cardigan! I reknit some yesterday. Figured I would go up a couple levels in difficulty though, so they are a bit fancier! Heh. Need to find another pot for my dyeing experiments, though. That sucks! ;-?

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