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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Adventures in dyeing!

I had promised myself that this summer I would dye some yarn with Kool-Aid.  I took this past week off from work to work on my dissertation and relax a bit.  After getting a bit written for my proposal (***HOOORAY!!!!***), I decided I deserved to take a fun break.  What better to do then to try dyeing yarn with Kool-Aid?  I searched the web for a good tutorial and found this one from Knitty.  I also found a tutorial on how to paint roving and yarn, which I used bits and pieces of.  Next, I had to go and gather my supplies.  I went out an bought a turkey baster, some natural wool, and searched for Kool-Aid.

After visiting 4 different stores....2 of which did not sell Kool-Aid, I returned with these flavors.  3 which were red (kind of clockwise starting with the red packet at the bottom): Cherry, Strawberry, Tropical Punch, Lemonade, Orange, Grape, and Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade.  The tutorial said to use 1 packet per ounce of yarn and each skein I bough was 3.5 ounces so I just bought A LOT of Kool-Aid.  Luckily it is relatively inexpensive :).

I decided to try three different types of yarn.  At first I was just going to try Patons and Stitch Nation, but then I discovered that the Michaels I went to had Classic Merino Wool in Tweed and I needed to buy that. Anywho, here we have Classic Wool in Aran.

Classic Wool Merino Tweed in Aran Tweed.

And Stitch Nation's Little Lamb :).

The next step was to wind the yarn into hanks because center-pull skeins don't allow the dye to get into the middle of the yarn.  So I took out my handy-dandy Knit Picks swift, attached one end of the yarn to it, and started spinning the swift.

And about 10 minutes later per skein, voila!  A nicely tied ring of yarn. (And a somewhat tired arm...). I used left over bits of acrylic yarn to tie the yarn circles so that they wouldn't get tangled during the dyeing process.

I only decided to dye 4 skeins of yarn--the two Stitch Nation skeins and one each of the different types of Patons yarn.  Here they are as hanks.

Next, the yarn had to be washed in mild soapy water, rinsed, and soaked while the dye was prepared.  I have to admit, my kitchen started to smell like a wet sheep....

I wanted to try different methods of dyeing the yarn.  Here is the tweet in a pot with 4 packets of the Blue Raspberry Lemonade Kool-Aid.  This was brought to a boil (ewww, this fruity smelling sheep...) and then covered and let sit for 30-45 minutes.

On my windowsill I placed 3 glasses each filled with a different flavor of Kool-Aid.  One of the reds (I can't remember which one), orange, and lemonade.  I stuck the yarn circle in like snake and let the colors absorb up the yarn.  I was hoping for some sort of gradient color change.  IF you do this, remember that the yarn is wet and WILL spill water on the floor....I learned this the hard way haha.  This was one of the Stitch Nation skeins.

I hand painted the second Stitch Nation skein with every flavor of Kool-Aid I bought.  I coiled up the yarn circle and then just used the turkey baster to squirt colored lines across the yarn.  This used up more dye than I thought, so I chose to leave some "natural" parts of the yarn.  This was then steamed for 30 minutes and sat covered for another 15 minutes.

Finally, I used all 3 red flavors to dye the Patons Classic Wool.  I put down plastic wrap, then they yarn, and spooned the colors on the yarn to really saturate it.  The red sadly went all over my counter...and dyed it red for a little bit (thank goodness for Clorox wipes!!!)...sooooooo put down a big garbage bag if you do this!!  After the colors were applied, I folded up the sides of the plastic wrap and rolled it into a little packet, and then microwaved it for 2 minute intervals 3 or 4 times.

When it was done, I carefully opened it up and let it cool.  Notice how the white acrylic ties didn't take the dye at all.

Next, the yarn had to cool and then be washed with mild soap and rinsed again with water, THE SAME TEMPERATURE AS THE YARN.  If the water was colder, the yarn would felt.  After each was washed and rinsed, I gently squeezed as much water as I could out and hung them to dry in my shower :).

It took over a day and a half for the yarn to really dry.  Then I twisted them up and now have 4 hanks of fun dyed yarn!

Color-way: R.O.Y.

Color-way: Icy Blue

Color-way: Taste the Rainbow

Color-way: Really, really, really red!

This was definitely a fun project and I'm looking forward to dyeing the remaining 2 skeins of yarn AND some roving that I bought at the NJ Sheep and Wool Festival last fall :).  Maybe I'll use Kool-Aid to dye the roving...or maybe not.  I do have to admit that the smell of "cooking" 100% wool and Kool-Aid isn't the most desirable smell, even if the end product is fruity smelling yarn!


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