Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dabbling with Dye

About a year and a half ago, I bought a kit to learn how to dye yarn. Except, then I read the instructions, which required saucepans to be kept just for dyeing and I put it in the too hard basket. Then in an Ankh-Morpork Knitter's Guild swap, I received some Kool Aid. This famous American kids' drink can be used for dyeing animal fibres (wool, silk etc) so I kept an eye out for cheap but nice yarn.
Finally, I started dyeing. I started with Kool Aid ice blocks and solar dyeing
Arrange ice blocks on dampened yarn, cling wrap and place in sun until liquid is clear.
I used two packets of Ice Blue Lemonade, and one each of Pink Lemonade and Grape, mixed with half a cup of water per packet (I think I'll use more water next time, but it was really hard to find any instructions on how much to use)
I was quite impressed but didn't love the finished product. The Grape dominated and there was too much white remaining.
So I overdyed with Cherry. Much better.
I also tried a boil-on-the-stove version of dyeing with Cherry. I'd bought what was supposed to be 50/50 viscose and tussa (sic) silk, so I thought the silk would take up the dye, but no matter what I did, I couldn't get it to set.
I ended up throwing in 50g of wool. I expected a solid colour, but I really like the semi-solid effect I ended up with. I gave both the faint pink blend and the wool to my MIL, who is already knitting the blend up into a cardigan for Niece #5


Erin said...

I was always a bit skeptical when I saw people using kool-aid to dye, I wondered if the colour would stay 'set'. I'd love for you to keep us updated if the colour is as vibrant after the garment has been washed a few times.
The dappled effect looks lovely on the yarn :)

Katie Lindsay said...

In theory, the acid in the Kool Aid (and I added some vinegar) sets the dye - this is why you have to use animal fibre. Acid dyes don't work on non-protein fibres.
They have all had a wash already, to make sure no dye was coming out, so hopefully it will stay that way!

Pretty Knitty said...

You know what else you can use that's food safe? Easter Egg Dyes! Just dissolve the tablets in a little water and vinegar, then add more water, and you're off!

As far as amounts go, I use approx. 4 tablets of Egg Dye, or 4 packets of kool-aide for 100g (nearly 4oz.) of yarn. That ratio has given me a nice, saturated color...more, if I want a really deep color. Happy Dyeing! =D