Thursday, December 08, 2005

Kooky Kool Aid Dyeing

I received my KnitPicks undyed sock yarn (400 yards!) in the mail the other day. It was very nice....had a smooth feel to it. Thought I'd use the directions for KoolAid dyeing in the recent Creative Knitting magazine to help me along. (I have dyed before with Kool Aid, but just in my own way...probably not the right way) Anyway, for anyone who's interested in doing it, I've got some thoughts and advice from my own many, many mistakes and blunders to help you along on your way:

~ The article says to form your yarn into a hank and tie in 4 places before soaking in the vinegar/water solution. I'd have to say...please, please follow these instructions. My hank came tied in only two places (but securely, so I thought) and I didn't bother to tie it twice more. BIG MISTAKE! It looked so pretty in the pot of water swimming around like spaghetti, but when I pulled it out, the hank was unrecognizable and a huge, huge tangle and mess. It took me an hour just to get it in a somewhat less tangled skein, but not at all like it was supposed to look.

~ The article warns you to cover all surfaces in your kitchen with newspaper or some kind of protective cloth. I put one small kitchen towel down and that wasn't nearly enough. I had no idea how strong that Kool Aid drink is....I got a drop on my countertop and it's now permanently orange....I can't even imagine what it does to your insides if you drink it...ewwww! So, make sure to do a good job covering up. And use gloves when pressing into the yarn....I forgot and had orange fingers for at least a whole day.

~ The article says to put your color dye concoctions into turkey basters or syringes....I was lazy and just poured the 3/4 cup into a salad dressing bottle. NOT GOOD! While pouring, the dyes went everywhere because the opening of my bottle was way too big. Not very precise "handpainting"....that's for sure. I had the idea afterwards to use those plastic ketchup bottles with the tiny opening on top that you see in diners....that would work, too.

~ The article says to arrange your yarn (either in a spiral or zigzag shape) in your microwavable casserole dish, dye one side with desired colors, then turn it over and dye the other side. You don't have to follow my advice, but DON'T DO THIS! Or at least do it so carefully that you know it will be okay in the end. I dyed one side with 4 far so good...but then went to turn it over and all went to HELL. The dyes started leaking out of the yarn and blending together in the bottom of the dish (do you know what red and green and orange make?....yup...brown) so while I was trying to place the yarn in exactly the right zigzag shape as before (in my opinion IMPOSSIBLE), it fell into the brown one side was nicely dyed and the other was a light brown....not attractive.

~ After crying for only a few minutes (or hours....depending on if you talk to me or my husband), I drained the excess brown and decided to cook my yarn anyway. Place it in the microwave for like 4-6 minutes...when it comes out the yarn will be hot (REALLY HOT!)....let it cool then rinse gently, but not under running a pot of tepid water. Drain. Let hang to try. This part went okay. I took a picture of my hanging, drying yarn in the white room...looked very interesting.

~ I was so disappointed in how the yarn colors came out, but decided to wind it all in a ball anyway and shove it deep, deep into my large closet....never to look at it again. But, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that, after winding it (which took 2's 400 yards!!!) the colors looked almost a sunrise. There's parts of perfectly dyed a soft strawberry color, light green and peach..... amidst the sorry looking light brown areas. I may still knit it up into some socks.....

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