Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I dyed some fiber today instead of working on finals

Because for some reason, I am finding it impossible to work on school this semester. I do not know what is wrong with me! 

For example, today I really needed to study for a test I have tomorrow, and to start writing a paper that is due Friday.
Instead, I did like an hour's worth of research, and then spent the rest of my time watching podcasts, doing chores, and dyeing fiber. 

In my defense, I have had a really bad headache today, which has made it hard to motivate myself to do any real work.

And I really should be studying right now, but instead I'm going to tell you about how I dyed my fiber.

I used the other half of the BFL  from Three Waters Farm on Etsy that I have been spinning on my drop spindle. I am almost done with the undyed portion

When I am done with this half,  I am going to spin up the dyed fiber and ply them together. Based on the weight the singles, I am probably going to end up with a heavy fingering weight yarn that will be up to a sport weight in some areas. 

I realized today that the weight of the spun singles adds to the weight of the spindle. I was reminded of why they call it a "drop" spindle when my spindle fell for the fourth time. :-P

How to Kool-Aid dye Fiber

You will need:
  • Undyed fiber
  • A large oven or microwave safe dish
  • Several packets of Kool-aid (a good rule of thumb is to use at least one packet for every 50 grams of fiber or yarn, depending on how vibrant you want it to be). I used Grape, Fruit Punch , and Blue Moon Berry
  • Containers for Kool-aid water
Optional: A small amount of vinegar or lemon juice

Step One: 
Gather your materials, mix each packet of Kool-aid with around two cups of water, and preheat the oven to around 200 or 250 degrees.

My oven's temperature gauge is way off

You could also dye your fiber in a large soup pot, crock pot, or heat proof dish, using boiling hot Kool-aid, but since I did that when I dyed my yarn, I decided to try the oven dyeing method this time. 

Step Two: 
While your oven is heating up, soak your fiber in warm water for at least ten minutes. I added a few tablespoons of lemon juice to the soak water, and a tablespoon to each of the Kool-aid mixtures, to up the intensity of the dye. Most dyers recommend using vinegar for this, but I can't stand the smell, and I figured that the acid of the lemon juice would perform the same function. I will just have to make sure to keep my fiber safe from bugs until I get a chance to wash it. 

Gently squeeze the water out of the fiber, being careful not to agitate it too much.

Step Three:
Arrange the fiber in the dish, and then pour the dye over it, in whatever way you want the dye to pool.

Then pop it in the oven for an hour.

From looking at that picture, you would think that the fiber would have ended up being mostly blue, right?

Step Four:
Take the pan out of the oven and let it sit until it is completely cool. While it is hot DO NO TOUCH IT!! I accidentally agitated one of the ends the fiber, and now it is all felty and matted. 

I am not thrilled with how the colors turned out. I used even amounts of each color, but the red really over powers everything. I will definitely use much less red next time. 

Step Five:
Once cooled, gently squeeze out the excess moisture and then lay the fiber out on a towel. Roll it up and step on it a few times. Then hang the fiber to dry. 

Step Six:
Look at how perty!!!

Alright...I guess that I better go work on school stuff. LAME


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