Saturday, March 19, 2005

Dyeing for Yarn

Kool Aid Yarn DyeingApparently dyeing yarn is all the rage now, so I ventured into my first wool dyeing project.

I measured the yardage on my homemade hank maker, then gently washed the yarn with dish soap. For each color, I mixed 1 tsp. of gel food color, ¼ c. vinegar, ¾ c. water. I dipped 150 yards of wool in 4 sections, microwaved it in a covered glass casserole dish for a few minutes until boiling, rested for a few minutes, brought it to boiling again, then kept it covered until it completely cooled. After a final rinsing and air-drying, Raven and I ooh'ed and aah'ed the rainbow yarn, but there were a few brown spots where I slipped and all the colors blended together, so I dunked the whole thing in the blue dye and started over. This peacock mix is much prettier!

Then we tried dyeing with Kool-Aid. Since it's acidic, I didn't have to use vinegar, so my kitchen smelled like artificial fruit instead of a pickle factory! I mixed 1 packet of each in ½ c. of water, but I was disappointed in the pale yellow of the lemonade, so I added a generous squirt of food color to liven it up. I wound five 32 yd hanks, painted 1 rainbow, and fully dipped the rest in each color Using the same microwave technique, I produced much of the same vibrant colors. If you're interested in trying this too....

After reading a few labels, I've learned that all these methods utilize only four dyes - Red 40, Red 3, Blue 1, and Yellow 5. Every Kool-Aid color is just different ratios of these dyes. I was disappointed in the grayish-purple product of blue and red, so I'm hoping I can find a better purple with egg dyes. When Easter is over, my friend Gina suggested stocking up the kits if they work. She is always full of good ideas!

Now I have even more yarn, yikes, but I've never tried knitting with 100% wool before. I plan on making some thick colorful socks, learning the double-circular toe-up method. I'm also daydream-designing a rainbow scarf or shawl. Eventually, I will attempt intarsia or fair isle, since colorful patterns make me very happy! Sigh... so much to learn, so much to knit, so little time.

My First Granny SquareThe other day, I was digging through boxes, looking for my sewing gear (in moving over the years, I have yet to fully unpack) and found my first skein of yarn, bought for Raven's craft projects. I considered saving it as a souvenir, but it's only Red Heart, so I'm crocheting as many granny squares as possible, to make a poncho for her. When will I ever make something for ME besides a scarf? I had no idea I was this generous! As they say, it's better to give....

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