Thursday, October 25, 2012

Experiments with Koolaid

I was going to wait a while to start this blog until I could prepare for the video-blogging segment that I am planning, but I just could not resist posting about my newest adventure
I dyed my own yarn!!

As you can imagine, I am VERY EXCITED and cannot wait to knit up a pair of socks.

I got the idea for Koolaid dyeing from Stacey of Freshstitches' tutorial on her blog. I used her process, but modified it a little bit.

I started out with a bare hank of 75% wool 25% nylon fingering weight yarn that I got from jslaurent on Etsy. To be honest, I will probably not buy this yarn again: although it soaked up dye like a dream, the yarn is a little bit too scratchy for my preference.I think that it will work out fine as a sock yarn, so I am not too disappointed. I mostly just bought this yarn because it was the most inexpensive that I could find, and I did not want to ruin an expensive skein of yarn with my shoddy artistry.  

I will explain what my process was for dyeing this yarn, and what I will do differently next time.

Step One: 
I soaked my yarn skein in lightly soapy water for about 15 minutes. Then I rinsed it and gently squeezed out as much water as I could

Step Two:
I used two packages each of unsweetened Kool-aid powder in Grape and Blue Lemonade

I poured one package of each into separate glass casserole dishes filled with boiling water, and then poured one of each into a preheated crackpot filled with a couple cups of water.

Step 2.1 (Optional)

I smashed my tea kettle against the side of the casserole dish because I'm a moron. D:
Step Three:
I dipped one end of the skein in the blue Kool-aid, and the other end in the purple Kool-aid, and I left a large portion of the middle bare. I let the yarn soak like this for about 10 minutes, until it had soaked up all of the dye, leaving clear water in the dish. (Seriously, the yarn soaked up the color crazy fast. It was awesome).
I didn't take any pictures of this part because I was so excited watching the dyeing process that I didn't even think of taking any pictures until I was done. 

Step Four:
I placed the whole skein of yarn in the purpley-blue dye in the slow-cooker and let it soak for about 20 minutes. 
This did not work well, for some reason. A lot of the middle areas of the skein were this weird mottled purple, and I didn't like it.  Next time I will try to find a different blue, because I don't think this one was as saturated as I wanted
 SO, I improvised and went on to 

Unplanned Step Five:
I wasn't sure if this would work, but I mixed three teaspoons of blue food coloring with a teaspoon of lime juice and two cups of boiling water. I have read that wool needs acid to soak up dye, but I wasn't sure if the citric acid in the Kool-aid would be enough, and I don't have any vinegar so I tried the lime juice. And it worked WONDERFULLY! The undyed sections soaked up a really rich blue, and it gave a blue cast to the rest of the yarn as well. 
I let the yarn soak in this for about 15 minutes.

Step Six:
I soaked the yarn in lukewarm water in my lovely Eucalan wool wash for 20 minutes.

Step Seven: SUCCESS
The yarn is currently hanging to dry in my shower

Some areas are very blue    


and some are very purple

and some are in between

Yay! Tomorrow I will post pictures of how it looks when dry.
Next time I think I'm either going to try to do long stripes or do a tonal yarn.

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