Tuesday, September 05, 2006


It's so exciting! My 10 sachets of Kool Aid arrived yesterday, so I popped out to get things like microwavable tubs and cling film. Being an English person and having never seen Kool Aid before, I have to say I am unsurprised at the rising levels of kids in North America diagnosed with ADHD, if this stuff is common: I felt hyperactive just smelling the sealed packages, never mind adding A WHOLE CUP of sugar and drinking it!* E-number-licious!

I searched the interwebs for instructions for dyeing, and ended up following an amalgam. First I soaked the yarn and roving in hot water with a dash of vingar. Then I applied the Kool Aid! I wasn't sure what the colours would turn out like, and didn't want to 'waste' my packets, since I paid a fortune for them (worked out at basically $1 for each sachet - I'm sure these are usually around 10cents in the US). As such, the colours might be a little weird together, because I had to guess.

First I trialled the Tropical Punch, which is in a blue packet but comes out bright blood-orangey-red (this is on the thick yarn I spun at the weekend, in the last post):

Obviously, the colours photograph badly, they're not as washed out.

Then I tried a little bit of Tropical Punch with... ah, crap. The name is on the top of the sachet which I ripped off and chucked away... *rifles through bin*... Grape. Grape comes out a lovely purple, but the weaker the solution the more bluey-grey it goes.

In person the colours look a lot less weird together, but I admit I could've chosen better. This is the yarn I had 'challah hanked' a couple of posts ago.

With both the yarns I put the yarn in a plastic tub with the dye (even the two-tone one had both colours in the same tub - one at either end; I didn't measure how much water I used, and I think I could've used more) and microwaved it (yay! Knew the microwave would be useful for more than just the monthly hot-bean-bag warm up). It sounded terrifying in the microwave - lots of pops and explosions, but didn't set on fire.

With a leetle bit of Tropical Punch and quite a bit of Grape left I had a go at dyeing rovings. Or top. Actually, I think it's top**. I had a 2 ounce length which I laid out (folded into thirds) on some microwavable cling film. I found applying the dye very awkward, as it seemed to just suck it all up at the bottom, and I was left with loads and loads of white between the dyed places, and the dyed places themselves tended to take the dye underneath but not at the top layer.

So I decided to sacrifice another sachet, and went for Swirlin' Strawberry Starfruit, which was a pastel pink and actually a very good choice. It goes beautifully with the Grape. And actually, the Grape goes nicely with the undyed white bits too. I was able to squeeze more out of the dye already applied by adding some water and gently squishing it all down (I hope I haven't felted it :-0). I ended up with about 4 splodges of Grape, two of Tropical Punch and the rest is the SSS.

I then wrapped the clingfilm round each third and popped it in the microwave. As I couldn't really see if the dye had exhausted, after a couple of goes in the microwave I took the clingfilm off, and zapped it once more. It looks so exciting (seriously, it doesn't look this bad normally)!

Look! Look what colour the Grape goes sometimes! Beautiful blue...

And here they are all laid out to dry.

I was a little nervous that they might drip dyed water, since we have a crap plastic bath and I was worried it would stain. But once the dyebath exhausted absolutely NO dye was given off at all! The rinse water was totally clear (even though I used warm water with detergent). Amusingly, I was thinking about how my bath at my parents' was so great, being enamel, that it never stained, no matter how much red/pink/purple/blue hairdye you washed down it. Only to get a message from my mum today to say that that wonderful bath is currently in the front garden, and my dad is redecorating the bathroom. Oh well! Given that they've already got the kitchen sink for me in the shed (no, I'm not joking. It's a double sink and they were getting rid of it, so I asked if they'd hold onto it on the offchance the housing market collapses, I get to buy a house and have enough left over to redo the kitchen) I don't think they'll keep the bath too :P

Back to the wool! Dyeing is loads of fun! I have 7 sachets left and have just had to stop myself placing an order with an American company for 100 more :P I only have 2 dyed ounces of top left, LOL! I think I can wait before I get any more.

I want to spin the dyed top sooooooooooooooo bad. It's there, taunting me every time I go in the bathroom. Luckily it's still wet otherwise I'd be spinning it right now ;) I have no idea whether it will spin up nicely, or ply nicely, but it means that practising spinning will become more fun. Can't wait to get to the bluuuuue bits :D As for the yarn... I'm just sad that I can't do anything with it. The two-tone one could possibly be a skinny drop-stitch scarf (the Tropical Punch skein is too short to be anything really), but will I ever get to knit it?

Enough! I've already had my weekly intensive two-hour crying pity-a-thon this morning; no more!

* I know. I'm being facetious. I apologise.
** Note to Mancunians: While it is also 'great', 'top' is used here as the technical name for the long wad of fibre as pictured in the photos.



Blogger The Sanguine Gryphon said...

Thanks for detailing your dyeing adventure! I've done a little acid dyeing and one cochineal run, but want to try Kool-Aid. Why is it so bloody expensive for you to order? Do you suppose it would be cheaper if I bought some at the grocery store and mailed it to you? Speaking of ordering, I don't have a website yet, but I do mail order, and I don't see why it shouldn't be international. Watchya want?

8:50 pm  
Blogger TheKnittingBee said...

My pleasure :) (plus - I would have no idea what to do next time, LOL!).

Will email you re other matters :)

11:42 pm  

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