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A Weekend to Dye For (Part 2)

Posted on August 10, 2006 at 5:47 pm, by knitwit
in Category Dyeing, Knitting

Ok.  So the next morning, I found my newly dyed yarn all nice and dry and waiting for me.  I also noticed a loverly fruity smell in the kitchen.  Mmmmm….

I was really jazzed about the result of my dried yarns.  They looked great hanging there, the colors were vibrant, none of the sections had bled onto the other in a gross way.  I was ready to wind these puppies on the knitty-noddy! So back on the chairs the yarn went.

Eddie says

This time Eddie sat under the skein between the two chairs–and out of my path.  Good kitty.  I wrapped the yarn up on my niddy-noddy   batch1 noddy  and twisted it into a skein  batch1 skein

I did the same with the other 2 yarns:

batch2 noddy       batch2 skein

For this yarn I used blue raspberry, lemon-lime, watermelon-cherry, and lemonade.

batch3 noddy     batch3 skein

This one I made 5 sections, then died them in gradient shades of red/pink using black cherry, cherry, watermelon-cherry, and pink lemonade.  The last section I dyed yellow with lemonade.

I was totally happy with how the yarn turned out
        Three little skeins of wool are we

And when I knitted the first batch, here's how it looked

Koolaid Hat and the top koolaid hat top

The purple stripe looks a little grey in the picture.  But I liked the way it striped near the crown.  I was really happy with the way this skein turned out.  I'm making some fun little socks with the second skein:

koolaid sock Here it is, sitting on a the nifty swifty my hubby made me when I was crying about having 1200 yds of lace yarn to wind and no swift.  The color is not very true in this pic so here's a close up:

sock close up

I'm really happy with the way all the yarn has turned out.  So happy, I have plans for some odd ball skeins of aran merino in the stash closet.  I went back to the store yesterday and bought 40 (yes 40) packets of Kool Aid!  Lexie, the check out girl, gave me looks like "Man, you drink a lot of Kool Aid!"  I told her I use it to dye yarn.  She was like "huh?"  I'm sure Lexie thinks I'm totally weird now.  Wait til I'm walking around town this winter in my totally awesome KoolAid hat.  Everyone will want one Cool!

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A Weekend to Dye For (Part 1)

Posted on August 10, 2006 at 3:57 pm, by knitwit
in Category Dyeing, Knitting

Well, I'm a few days late in getting this posted, but here's what I did this past weekend.

I made these:


Koolaid dyed wool


I know dyeing yarn with Kool Aid is way old hat for some of you, but this was the first time I tried it and I had a blast with it! 

I first tried some HyVee brand drink mix with some of my very first handspun. 

undyed handspun

Those of you who are spinners can tell these are very good examples of beginning handspun.  In other words–I'm not a very good spinner yet! The skeins get progressively better from left to right.  The one on the left is my first hand spun–very kinky and either over or underspun.  The center was my next attempt, the one on the right was my first attempt at plying and it looked better.  The best skein I have created so far is not pictured here because I have decided not to dye it, but to preserve it until I learn how to do better! 

I decided I would try the microwave method of dyeing yarn first.  There is a good tutorial here.  I soaked my yarn, mixed my orange drink mix in my microwave safe dish, popped in my yarn and zapped it in the microwave in 2 minute cycles for 10 minutes total.

Orange koolaid dye

It looked pretty gross. 

Then I tried the raspberry on my second skein of handspun–same process–

Raspberry koolaid dye

Brad and I decided it looked like intestines.  Eeewww…..
I rinsed the mess and squeezed out the excess water (see directions in above mentioned tutorial for proper procedure) and hung it outside to dry.  The finished result was…well, less than satisfactory….

dyed handspun

The colors were definitely bright but not exactly what I was looking for. 

With my third skein, I tried handpainting (There are some great tutorials online about this too, like this one, which I failed to read until after the weekend dyeing extravaganza–I'm not one for patience or reading directions).

handpaint handspun

I laid out my yarn like this on a garbage bag, and used a turkey baster to squirt the different colors of drink mix on the yarn.  Trying to go for a variegated affect. 

handpaint result

Again, not exactly what I was going for.  It was messy and the colors bled all over the place.  I think maybe I had dilluted the mix a little too much.  The yarn also felted a little which may have been because I didn't let it cool completely before I rinsed it.

Feeling disappointed, I set about to cleaning up my mess, when I remembered I had an entire skein of Lion Brand Fisherman's wool I could play with.  It was off to the store where I found unsweetened Kool Aid packets on sale for 10 for a buck! Whoo hoo!  I decided this time to go online and see if I could find some more info on dyeing to help insure a higher rate of success.  I found some really great sites like this one.  If you scroll down, she also has some great references in her post.  So I set about to dye my Fisherman's wool accordingly. 

I didn't get very scientific with it.  This blog shows just how to figure out how long of a skein you should make according to your gauge and the striping affect you want to accomplish and so on, but I just wanted to play.  So  I set 2 kitchen chairs about 5 feet apart and began to wind a giant skein. 

winding skein

By my estimates, the chairs were 5ft apart, and 1ft wide, so one wrap around the chair=12ft/4yds.  If my math was correct, 30 times around the chairs = 360ft/120yds.  I decided this was enough for each batch.  I made three skeins in this method.  I just walked around the chairs and let my pull skein unwind.  This would have been a lot easier if my cat hadn't decided to sit right in the path I was walking in, but when have cats ever been considerate of anyone?

Once I had my skein wound.  I separated it into quarters.  Again, not very scientifically.  I just tied off the skein on each side of the chairs in approximately the middle, and did the same thing with the yarn in about the center of the area that wrapped around the chair.
tie skein in quarters

With a different color yarn, I tied the skein in several other places so it would not get tangled during the dyeing process.  I then gathered the skein up so that each of the 4 places I tied off first met in the middle:

4 sections

Each of these 4 sections will be dyed a different color.  I soaked my yarn in cool water for about 20 minutes while I prepared everything.

One packet of Kool Aid will dye one ounce of yarn.  Each of my 4 sections was between 1/2 and 3/4 ounce (the total skein weighed 2.5oz).  So here's what I used for dye:

Section 1: 1 packet black cherry+a few sprinkles from a second packet
Section 2: 1 packet of blue raspberry with a sprinkle of black cherry to give it a sort of lavender hue.
Section3:  1 packet of Orange
Section4:  1 packet of Pink Lemonade

For this method, I used the stove.  I put the drink mix in 2 seperate pots with a little water.  I then added one section of yarn to each pot:
dyeing batch 1

I added more water until the yarn was covered.  I heated the water till it was just boiling then I turned it down to a simmer.  I figured out that the colored water will creep up the yarn that's sticking up above the level of the water, but just a half inch or so.  I took a wooden spoon and shifted the exposed yarn between the 2 pots back and forth so that there would not be a white spot between the two colors.  Because the color did not have the chance to permeate the yarn as it did with the yarn that was actually submersed in the pots, the color was lighter on these center sections which I thought made for a nice transition between the colors.  If you want to avoid this result, make sure to fully submerse the section in one pot, then lift it into the second pot till the second color meets the first.  Be careful the colors don't bleed together as that can make a yucky brown section between your 2 colors.  I simmered the yarn until the dye was "exhausted", about 20 minutes.  You'll know it's done because the water will be clear.  The exception is with the lemonade flavors.  They become cloudy when they are done.  I wasn't exactly sure what to do with the yarn then, but I knew I wanted to to cool so I just dumped it into glass bowls while I did the other 2 sections of yarn.

dyeing batch1

After all of the yarn is dyed, it is colorfast and the colors will not bleed onto each other.  They can be set aside to cool and then rinsed.  Rinse your yarn in water the same temperature as the yarn to prevent felting.  I did not let mine cool completely (did I mention I was impatient?), so I put on some rubber gloves and rinsed my yarn in hot water, then slowly ran it under cooler water until the yarn was cool.  I then squeezed out the excess water. I wrapped the yarn in a bath towel and rolled it up, set it on the floor and walked on it to squeeze out even more water.  Then, I put the yarn over 2 hangers and out on the porch it went to dry.

drying batch 1

I repeated this same process with my other 2 skeins of yarn.  By the time I had those  hung up to dry, it was getting late so the skeining would have to wait til the next day. 

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