Thursday, November 8, 2007

Trying my hand at dyeing

Yesterday was the monthly meeting of the Fibre Artists, the knitting and stitching group from school. Even though two of us are now retired, the five or six regular members, try to meet once a month to show finished projects, new projects and learn a new technique. Pat was our instructor yesterday in the art of Kool Aid dyeing. I was a spectator yesterday, but was spurred on to try my hand at home today. Pat used the canning jar, hot water, and microwave method. I switched it up a little and eliminated the canning jars.

I had a skein of Bare from Knit Picks, superwash sock yarn, at $5.99 for 460 yards this is a bargin. I had four different packages of Kool Aid in the closet, not something I bought but packets that were gifted in various swaps and exchanges. I had Lemonade, Tropical Punch, Pink Lemonade, and Orange. It has to be the regular Kool Aid the one to add sugar to not the kind that already has sugar added.

I tied the yarn skein into six sections and then soaked itin warm water and a slug of champagne vinegar for about 30 minutes, I would have used regular white vinegar but was out, champagne seemed the next best thing.

I mixed the Kool Aid in four separate plastic cups, with hot water. I used 1/4 cup of water for the lemon and the pink as they were the lighter colours and 1/2 cup of water for the orange and the tropical punch (which is a red colour). I wanted the depth of the colour to be the same throughout the skein.

Instead of putting the dye in the canning jars, dipping in the yarn and putting it in the microwave, I hand painted the yarn section by section using a stencil brush. I placed each tied off section in a small plastic container, poured a little of the dye on top of the yarn and began to dabb with the brush. I turned the yarn over and seperated it in order to dye the entire section.

I did this with each section, after I had four sections completed I began to mix and match the dyes and added a little more hot water. When I had all six sections dyed, I placed the yarn in a large round ceramic dish and microwaved it for 2 minutes, I let it cool for two minutes, then microwaved again for 2 minutes. I let the yarn sit for about 30 minutes to cool off, rinsed in warm water to rinse of the excess dye, of which there wasn't any.

I squeezed out the water, it ran clear, and I placed the skein on a clean town (an old one just incase any dye came out - it didn't)

Then I hung it up to dry over the bathtub. The colours are wonderful, vivid, strong, and very appealing, it reminds me of Starburst colours. The entire process took about an hour, I used no harsh chemicals, I had everything on hand, yarn, Kool Aid, plastic gloves (this is after all dye), old towels, plastic garbage bag under towels, plastic cups, plastic fork to stir with, plastic container, and stencil brush. The entire process cost under $7.00, am really looking forward to seeing how it turns out when it's wound into a ball and I begin to knit with it. I will definately try this again, using purples and greens or orange and turquoise next time my favorite colour combinations.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Isobel!

Your kool-aid experiment looks great! Next thing you know you'll be jumping off into Natural dyes!

As your secret santa I think I need to know if this is a new area for further exploration for you...

Hee, hee...