Saturday, November 05, 2005

Yarn Dying

I just finished my first yarn dying adventure with Kool-Aid. It took awhile but was also a lot of fun and a chance to get creative with colors. I started out with this yarn: better than all the fancy yarns!

Then I did this to it:
Winding yarn takes about ½ hour per skein
The yarn I used is Bernat Lana 100% merino wool in 3.5 oz skeins. I used three skeins. Be sure to tie a piece of yarn around the skeins in about four places to keep it all together.

The next step was to wash the yarn gently with a little bit of mild soap and rinse. Don’t use hot water or your yarn will felt. Squeeze most of the water out (gently!) or the yarn won’t soak up the dye as well.
Poor pale, colorless yarn!
Looks like spaghetti, no?

Here are the colors of Kool-Aid I used, all mixed up and ready to go. You don’t need to use any vinegar because Kool-Aid is pretty acidic. Some people use paper or plastic cups for the dye but I didn’t have any, so I used all glass containers. Glass doesn’t stain. If I do it again, I’m going to use at least three packs of Kool-Aid per glass because my colors weren’t as bright as I’d like, plus I was running out of dye before I ran out of yarn. 
Color me!

Then lay the yarn out on a garbage bag and start painting. Use a turkey baster or large syringe to apply the colors to the yarn. This is with just the blue painted on.
Blue on ivory
Wear plastic gloves or your hands will stain. Squish each color into the yarn gently to saturate every strand….like when you color your hair.
Add your other colors one at a time. This is where you have the chance to get creative!
Looking better
You may have to turn the skein over to get the dye through to the other side if your skein is thick. Watch for white areas, especially under the ties and in the middle.

When you’ve got the colors applied and are happy with your arrangement, carefully lift the yarn and place it into a large, microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and poke a couple of holes in the plastic to let the steam escape. Microwave on high for three minutes. Let the yarn sit in the microwave for a few minutes and then check it. Be careful of the hot bowl and the steam when you take off the plastic wrap. If the water is clear or just a little milky—in other words, not colored with dye, then the yarn is done. If there is still color in the water, then microwave for another three minutes.

When the yarn is done cooking, carefully slide it out of the bowl into another container or an empty sink to cool. Don’t add any water yet or you could shock the yarn into felting and that would not be a good thing after all your hard work. Careful, it’s hot!

When cool, again rinse the yarn in water that is the same temperature as the yarn. Pretty colors! When you have it rinsed, pick it up and again gently squeeze most of the water out. Place yarn on a towel, roll it up, and squeeze gently to remove more of the water. Citrusy goodness! I love citrus colors, so I used orange, yellow, and green on half of my yarn. With the other half I was trying to duplicate this yarn. Maybe I’ll get it right next time but my dye colors just weren’t vivid enough. Remember, buy plenty of Kool-Aid because you will use a lot!

The only thing left to do is hang the skeins up to dry. I’m not very patient though…I want it to be ready now! 
Hurry up and dry!
closeup of yarn 1
closeup of citrus yarn

I’m not sure what I’ll make out of the first yarn. I want to use the citrus-colored yarn to crochet a big ole tote bag and felt it. I just wish it would hurry up and dry! It was a lot of fun and I plan to do it again.

4 Comments:

Blogger Silverfairy2 said...

Very informative and great end results. Now I want to dye yarn, too. I have 4 huge balls of recycled cotton yarn that I want to dye brown eventually:-).

6:50 PM  
Blogger Mimi said...

Nice work on that! Sure looks fun to see the colors that you created yourself and also fun to crochet with it.

1:33 AM  
Blogger NS said...

You've got a great blog here! The dyeing is fun, isn't it?

4:30 PM  
Blogger Kimberly said...

Great job dyeing the yarn!! It looks great! Your directions are great also...I picked some koolaid up at the military base this weekend so my next project is to dye some yarn!

5:31 AM  

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