Sunday, April 22, 2012

My kool-aid experiment

Having nothing to do is slightly starting to get to me, so on Wednesday I went and bought a bunch of kool-aid packets (10 for $1), read a bunch of internet tutorials and did my own yarn dying experiment.

I have been obsessed with gradient yarns, so I used this tutorial and tried my hand at making a purpley gradient first.

My first step was to take the briggs & little sport weight that I had and make 10 mini-skeins that were 11-13 grams each. (The original skein was 113gr.)

I had the yarn on my swift and pulled amounts of it out while I used my scale to weight them. It took a lot longer than I expected to get through this step.

Then I got my big pot on the stove and started adding the kool-aid. I started off with 2 blues (I think it was the Ice Berry Raspberry Lemonade or whatever they're trying to pretend is that blue in nature) and 1 grape. (As a side I hate the smell of artificial grape, and I'm glad my yarn didn't come out smelling like it.) Once it was heated up (it was described in a different tutorial I read as "when the mix starts steaming") I added my 10 skeins of yarn.

I pulled out a skein using tongs every 5 minutes. I used my iPhone timer. I don't have an egg timer and the one on the stove would take to long to reset. iPhones are not water-proof though, I learned this from a different experiment so keep the phone out of the way!

After I took out my 2nd or 3rd skein, I realized that I needed more kool-aid and added more 2 grape/purple and 1 blue to the pot.

skeins 1, 2, 3, & 4
 The first four skeins did show subtle graduation between them.

After the 4th skein, came out of the dye pot I decided to add 1 packet of black cherry along with one more of the grape to the dye pot to get a reddish purple at the other end of the spectrum. I also took a spoonful of the mixture with the red and sprinkled it on skein #4 to make sure that skein 4 would flow into skein 5 without trouble. Skeins 9 & 10 sat in dye with an addition black cherry added to them.

Finished skeins laid out to dry
I cut open a wire danger from the dry cleaners and strung my mini skeins up to dry outside. (Until it got really windy and they were moved to the bathroom to dry.)

When I was finished with that experiment, I decided to try and make another gradient yarn, with fingering weight, without breaking the yarn, and using a different method. I was inspired by this tutorial/blog to try this method. Unfortunately, my impatience and hastiness resulted in my first 22grams breaking off because of a knot. Then, later when I wound it the final 19 grams broke off because of a knot as well.

My base yarn this time was Knitpicks bare fingering weight yarn.
I used the following kool aid packets:
  • 4 packets of lemonade (yellow)
  • 2 packets of peach mango
  • 2 packets of orange (and a third that was used partially)
  • 4 packets of pink lemonade
  • 1 packet of strawberry (was only partially used)
Since my first 22 grams, had broken off, I dyed these first while I separated the rest of the skeins for dying. Before starting the rest of the skein I soaked 2 or 3 yards of one end of the yellow in the peach mango dye bath.

My yellow ended up being a tangled mess from hell. I spent almost the entirety of a hockey game untangling the mess. There aren't any pictures of that.

The yellow was first soaked in 2 packets of lemonade and then the end was soaked with peach mango at the same time the portion of the intact skein.

With the larger skein each portioned off piece went into a different dye bath.
  • 1st was 2 packets of peach mango
  • 2nd was 2 packets of orange
  • 3rd was 2 packets of pink lemonade, with pinches of orange added until it became an orangey-pink
  • 4th was 2 packets of pink lemonade, with pinches of strawberry added to make a really bold pink
As one portion came out of the dye bath, I used different little tupperwares and moved them to keep all of the ends attached.

After the large skein was done, I rinsed it and took it outside to start to dry. I was super happy with how the colors all came out. I really didn't test the kool-aid colors before I went ahead and died... Maybe not the smartest thing to do, but it worked out. I figured if it wasn't a perfect gradient I'd have fun yarn to knit with anyways.

When my yellow was finally untangled I decided it was yellow enough and decided to soak it in 2 more packets of the lemonade, but this time I added a tent tiny pinch of orange to it's dye bath. The resulting yellow was much more vibrant than the first time around.

I hung the yellow up with the rest of the larger skein to dry.

The following day I got to wind the skein into balls, where as previously mentioned the pink bit broke off after some knots. I'm not a master at getting knots out of yarn.

I'm obsessed with dying yarns now. I've got one other bare fingering weight and 2 bulky weight yarns to experiment with on a later date, I'm think of trying food coloring next. Or a different dying technique.

I'm planning on knitting both of these yarns into shawls but I haven't decided which patterns to use yet. I'm on a crazy strict budget right now so I'm limited to FREE or already purchased patterns. 

For the fingering weight I've narrowed it down to (all links go to the Ravelry page):
For the sport weight I've looked at"
I'm undecided on either yarn/shawl combo though. I'm anxious to knit a gradient shawl though!

1 comment:

Crafty Andy said...

Nice blogging about the dye job!