Weekend fun

This picture seems abiguous on its own, but it will make sense shortly. Have patience.

A local knitter hosted a Kool-Aid yarn dyeing party last weekend. A bunch of us who live “SOL” (South of the Loop – I just made that up and claim all credit for it) invaded her kitchen and her backyard to purposefully stain our undyed yarn. She was even so good as to coordinate a large order of yarn for us so that we didn’t have to pay shipping. What a good soul! It was her birthday, too!

IMG_3692Kool-Aid is an amazing substance. What genius decided to sell a permanent cloth dye as a child’s drink? That doesn’t seem to make much sense. It makes a great yarn dye, however. It has the added side benefit of smelling delicious! Wet yarn usually stinks, especially wool. The Kool-Aid balanced it out perfectly and made the house smell like a “Lifesavers factory” according to another knitter.

I was shooting for a pinkish-orangey salmon color I’ve been seeing around lately. I didn’t succeed, but I’m really happy with my final product. By adding some extra color after soaking the whole skein, I got some different tones here and there. I think it’s beautiful even if it wasn’t what I envisioned.

IMG_3717After watching the yarn dry for awhile, our host decided to dye more yarn and she talked me into taking an extra sock blank. I told her my comment about wanting to try one had been an empty threat, but she held me to it! Again, it didn’t turn out as I imagined, but I like it a lot. I wish I had better imagination for colors. As you may see in the wide shot below, another knitter made what turned into a sort of tie-dye looking work of art. I’m a little jealous.

Here’s the process we used: first, we soaked the yarn to get it evenly wet. Then we mixed Kool-Aid concentrate (3-6 packets per skein according to our local expert) with about 2 cups of water. The best method of dyeing seemed to be to pour the Kool-Aid into a bowl, then dunk the skein into it to soak up the color more evenly. (I poured the Kool-Aid over my yarn, and that’s why I had to try to cover up white spots.) To get stripes, we used a large syringe a thoughtful knitter brought (you know who you are). She used the syringe to dye her whole skein one color, and that seemed to provide pretty consistent color saturation, too. Many of us rinsed our yarn after it seemed to absorb the color.

To set the color, we tried two processes: we microwaved the yarn for 30 second intervals until the water ran clear (this was met with mixed reviews); secondly, we let it sit in the sun. Mix in sangria and margaritas, and you have a pretty perfect afternoon!



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Kristen
    Aug 29, 2008 @ 11:44:22

    That was such a fun day! I’d definitely love to do it again sometime.


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