Sunday, January 29, 2012

Kool-aid dyed yarn!

A few weeks ago, when it was actually cold, I loaned KB my felted slippers and offered to make her a pair. The thing is, the only colored yarns I have on hand anymore are in small supply, or in 'girly' colors that she's grown out of. However, I had four skeins of Lion Wool (100% wool, worsted weight) in a natural 'Winter White' color on hand, which I had purchased for the specific purpose of Kool-aid dyeing. I also had plenty of different colors of Kool-aid on hand, which I'd purchased for some tie-dyeing that never quite happened last summer due to the weather and her friend AB's schedule.

The process itself is pretty simple, and can be found just about anywhere online. We took two chairs and set them on either end of the dining room, and KB wrapped two skeins of yarn around them, creating one really long skein. AB did the same with two more skeins. Each of them used rubber bands to tie off where they wanted the color changes to go, and we set them to the side for the next time she could come over.

AB came back over today, and we got to work as BB's tea party was wrapping up - speaking of, it was absolutely adorable, and she and her friend had a great time. At any rate, we promptly got to work on mixing up Kool-aid in mason jars, and putting them into the pressure cooker, along with a couple inches of water.
Blue and green are the fashionable colors for tweenie girls these days.

Once they had mixed up all six jars, with one packet of mix each, we snipped the rubber bands off the yarn and started stuffing them into the jars.

Gotta make sure to dunk the yarn that won't fit into the jars in the dye, too, or you'll have white patches.

Then I turned on the stove and put the lid on. I used the pressure cooker because it's the only pot we have on hand that can fit six quart sized mason jars.

Notice that I didn't seal the lid down, or use the weight. It just needed to be near-boiling, then cool.

It took about 20 minutes for the water to get really hot, and then another half hour or so for enough of the dye to soak in to our satisfaction. Not all of the blue soaked in, but there was enough color saturation and lots of green saturation, and everyone was happy.

It's hard to tell from this picture, but the water was almost clear. The green color had been soaked into the yarn.

After all of that, the yarn went into the sink and was squeezed out, and first rinsed with hot water, then fairly warm water, then lukewarm water. Trying to cool it off too fast would've resulted in major shrinkage - and it's not time to felt the yarn just yet. After squeezing it out pretty thoroughly, the yarn got hung up on the back porch to drip for an hour or so.

The blue of the yarn almost matches the blue of the pool... almost.

As AB and KB were heading out for the day, I decided that I didn't want damp yarn to be left outdoors to freeze overnight, so I brought it back inside and hung it on the towel bar in my bathroom. Besides, it's much warmer inside, so hopefully that'll make it dry faster. I'm pretty anxious to wind this stuff into balls and get started on their slippers and whatever other projects they dream of for this yarn!

This picture doesn't do the colors justice. They're gorgeous.

It's just too pretty. I'm thinking of setting up a fan in there to nudge the drying process along.

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