Monday, November 26, 2012

Dye Job

I have wanted to dye yarn myself more or less ever since I started knitting.  I've seen some beautiful hand-dyed yarns.  But it seems like such an arduous process between buying acidic yarns, having to cut up plastic bags to put the dyed yarn on, needing to soak it in vinegar to make the yarn take.  Plus, I don't know where I would do all that.  I could use the sink in the basement, but it's not exactly the cleanest...

Then, I came across this on Pinterest about dyeing yarn with Kool-aid  I know it talks about dyeing to reach a gradient, but it broke the whole process down into such simple steps with such basic elements that I got so excited about trying it.  So today, while Elijah and I were out and about in DeKalb, I we stopped at Target and I picked up these
I was hoping for blue or green, but it's not a Super Target and their Kool-aid selection was actually pretty small.

When we got home, I pulled out some yarn I had in my stash and made a few small "testing hanks."

The first hank is Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool, which is sold in huge skeins.  I got mine at Michael's for a project that fell through.  It's 100% wool and everything I've read about dyeing yarn says wool and natural fibers are the best, but for some reason not cotton.

The second hank is Paton's Grace Sock Yarn.  It is 100% mercerized cotton which I bought also at Michael's to be the snout, feet, and ears of the pig in Elijah's mobile.  I didn't know it was cotton until after I finished trying to dye it.

The last hank is Caron Simply Soft, 100% synthetic.  Synthetics are supposed to be almost un-dyeable.  I bought it to use to make a border collie for Elijah's room and I ended up needing a different style yarn.  I figured since it was sitting right there, I might as well try it. 

I just followed the steps in the tutorial:

Here the hanks are, absorbing the dye on the stove top.  I had them in for the full 40 minutes just to see how well the dye would take.  While the yarn is in this stage, the house smells like Kool-aid, it's awesome!  The only thing I apparently glanced over was the instruction to wash them with a mild soap or wool soap when they are done.  So, I grabbed some hand soap.  That's mild, right?

Here's the finished project, after the dyeing and washing.

This is the Fisherman's Wool.  It come out just about perfect.  The only problem was I bound the hank too tightly so there is a spot of white on each strand.  Lesson learned.

This is the Paton's Grace Sock yarn.  I actually love this color.  I washed it for a little while just to see if it would get any lighter, which it didn't seem to.

Finally, the Caron's Simply Soft.  I guess all those blogs and posts were right, it is very difficult, if not impossible to dye synthetic yarn.  Oh, well, thought I'd give it a go anyway.

The Kool-aid is apparently colorfast, so it won't bleed and it smells great.  I think I'll probably try this again some time.  Hopefully I can find more interesting Kool-aid colors. 

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