Here are the pictures from my last week’s kool-aid dying experiment. It is a haphazard dyeing process. Whatever felt right, and sometimes, even when it didn’t feel right I just kept going with it. These are not my first kool-aid experiments, but just the ones I played with over the holiday weeks.

Kool-Aid Experiment #1

Kool-Aid dyed Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool and toe-up socksThis was an 8 oz skein of Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool dyed in the skein on the stove top. I soaked the skein in hot water for about an hour. Then squeezed it out some, and submerged one end of the skein in a crockpot with 2 packets of very berry, simmered for about 30 minutes (didn’t really keep track). I rinsed it briefly, and submerged the other end in with 2 packets of grape (this was the grape flavored one that starts out orange and changes to red … I was just curious what it would turn out like).

Once I took the skein out and rinsed, I realized that the inside of the skein didn’t have much color to it. (Next day) So I took another 2 packets of very berry and poured them into holes that I excavated into the skein. Microwaved on high for about 3 minutes, waited a couple, and then microwaved again for another 3 minutes. Rinsed, and voila!

I like the results. Although I don’t think I will skein dye with a skein this large and tightly packed again. I’ll restricted my expriments to smaller amounts of yarn. The yarn on the outside is totally saturated and the yarn on the inside has more white to it where the dye didn’t get to. I’ll make house socks with these. (Toe-up socks on the needles there.)

Kool-Aid Experiment #2

I pulled out 8 oz of mystery white roving that I had around and decided to do some dying using Twisted Sisters spot dye method, except with kool-aid. I don’t have pictures of the dyeing process because I was trying to do it while Martin was out of the house. He doesn’t like to overwhelming smell of cooked kool-aid. Come to think of it, I don’t either, but I’m immune from the year that I spent in Marine World making cotton candy for the masses, way back when. Anyway, I had limited time so I was trying to get it all done and cleaned up before he got home.

1. 3 packets of grape in 10 oz of hot water
2. 2 packets of orange/red grape flavor (see experiment #1) in 6 oz of hot water
3. 1 packet of orange in 6 oz of hot water

The orange and orange colored grape were too close to each other, so I put a couple of teaspoons of the regular grape solution to darken it. It became a beautiful blood-orange color.

I used teaspoonse to dribble dye on the fiber. The first set of rovings, I squeezed too much water out. The colors just sat where I put them and didn’t do much soaking in. Subsequent ones where squeezed much more gently to retain more of the hot water. However, the ended up blending more than I wanted. Sigh, where’s the baby bear’s bed when you want it?

After coloring the roving, I wrapped the plastic wrap up, jelly-roll style, put it in a corning pot and microwaved 3 minutes on high, rest, and another 3 minutes on high. Set it in the side sink to cool, while the next batch went in. I think I was able to get the second jelly roll in after the first 3 minutes, so I always had 2 jelly rolls going, one on its first steam, and the other on its final steam. I continued to rotate them through until I finished all the rovings.

After rinsing and washing them, I put them in lingerie bags and the final fast spin in my front loading washer, then hung them up to dry.

I was lazy when preparing the fiber. They were bunched up in round ropes. I didn’t take the time to pull them out flat. So instead of dots in places, I had stripes of color across the width of the roving. I was a little disappointed when I saw them hanging on the drying rack. But once I pulled apart the rovings. Wow. What a transformation! It still wasn’t what I was hoping to get, but it is pretty in it’s own way. Not my colors, but still very nice.

Kool-Aid dyed rovings, singles, and 2 ply skein
I’m calling it sea shells. It has all the colors of the shells you pick up off the beach during those lazy summers at the beach house. Creamy white, light ochre, light corals, and mauve. Picture on the right shows some of the pre-drafted rovings, singles, and one of the finished 2-ply skeins.

Moral of the story? Don’t give up, no matter what you think of your dye experiment. Do play with it a little. It might surprise you. And if you don’t like the results, try over-dyeing it with something else, or just more of the same color to get to the color saturation you want. If there’s really no hope for it, them either card it with something else or make felt toys with them. My kitties will take them.

Finished Object

Martin's fingerless gloves

I made a pair of fingerless gloves for Martin, using this Knitty pattern by Bonne Marie. I modified it a little. Instead of worsted weight, I used Lorna’s Laces sportsweight in Douglas Fir nearly solid. I casted on 56 stitches on size 3 needles. The 2×2 rib makes it so that it fits both of us without binding his hand! The yarn is so soft it feels like you’ve got your hands in a nice warm cloud. Yum. I think I’ll be making another one for myself soon.