I have just finished a knitting project (at last!) but first I wanted to tell you about my weekend little experiments!
I have taken a recent interest in all the aspects of yarn making (before it is actually knitted)(just to make sure the name of the blog is appropriate): that means dyeing, carding and of course spinning, on which I will talk very soon!
For my first foray into dyeing, I wanted to take it slowly, making sure I would not ruin my lab (=my kitchen) or my finances.
After some investigation, I found that there was a magical product to dye yarn and fabrics: Kool Aid.
For those who may not know it, Kool Aid is a powder you are supposed to mix with water to obtain a highly coloured, highly artificial drink (But unsweetened, there is a sweetened version of Kool Aid but it does not work for dyeing).
This powder has both bright pigments and a great dose of citric acid (don’t fret, you find that in fruit as well) which means you do not have to add white vinegar or any kind of mordant to make dye: just Kool Aid.
It is great if you want to do it with kids or if you are just slightly awkward (like me)
The way to do it is pretty simple if you just follow some basic rules: you can only dye animal yarn (that means no cotton or acrylic), you dye from a skein and not from a ball and lastly, it is completely ok to “cook” yarn, you must only be careful with the sudden variations in temperature (those make yarn felt).
1. Briefly wash you skein with lukewarm water and some dishwasher product (or yarn shampoo)
2. While the yarn is in the water, prepare a Kool Aid-lukewarm mix (you can make several if you want a multicoloured yarn) – you will find Kool Aid colour charts on the Web but you can also improvise! Personnally my mistake was to add an orange sachet to the yellow one to get a dark yellow, but really all I got was bright orange (which is not really my colour, shame).
3.Put the pans on hobs and slowly bring the liquid to simmering, making sure the yarn is uniformly dyed. Let the whole thing rest – you should notice that the water becomes gradually clear (left of the pic)
4.When all the dye is absorbed and the liquid is lukewarm again, wash clear and let dry. Then you can put your skein into a ball and knit it away!
You will find more pictures on the blog page on Facebook . There are many different possibilities, I suggest you have a look at the Ravalery page, complete with Kool Aid yarn stash and projects What a Kool Way to Dye !
Please do ask if you have any question or share your experience with yarn dyeing!