Monday, April 11, 2005

Kool-Aid Kapers continued.

Bring on the yarn! Posted by Hello

Okay, enough with the prep work (Apr 9th's column). Let us be getting down to the nitty and the gritty of it all. There are lots of different methods for Kool-Aid dyeing. So far, I'm a stove top woman.

1. Place yarn in large pot and cover with water. Add about 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar. Yes, the pickling variety. It's to make the entire process acidic.

2. Set the pot to heat. The goal here is to bring it to NOT EXACTLY BOILING. That would be sub-boiling. Steam without bubbles. Watch it because the son of a gun is going to want to boil the nano-second you turn your back and of course, our instinct is to bring water to a boil quickly by putting the burner on max. Try medium to medium high. You don't want to be boiling the wool.

3. Mix up your Kool-Aid in a measuring cup with enough water to maintain the liquid consistency. Roughly speaking, count on using 1 package per ounce of wool. I personally think this is for the unadventurous, so I use 2 packages per ounce of wool and usually one for the pot.4. When the whole thing gets to sub-boiling, thinking about boiling, I pour the dye charge into the pot. The yarn closest to where I poured it will be darker while the yarn on the other side of the pot will be much lighter. My work around this is to pour about 1/4 of the dye charge on the 4 cardinal points of the pot. I do this because I don't want my hand dyed yarn to be particularly evenly coloured. I can buy commercial yarn that is all one colour, thank you. If you like a more even colouring, consider putting the dye in the water before adding the yarn and bringing the whole shooting match up to temperature.

5. Heat the mixture for 5 to 10 minutes, sliding the yarn around with a spoon to help the dye staturate the pot. You'll know when you are done because the water will be crystal clear. It's totally cool watching the colour disappear into the yarn, and with mixed colours, you can watch how one colour is absorbed more rapidly that another. When I did the grape sock yarn, the blue was absorbed first and then the red.

6. Turn the pot off and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature before removing the yarn and rinsing with cool water. Hang to dry.

Now just a word to the wise...more than the colour gets transferred to the yarn. The smell goes with it, so your lovely purple yarn smells distinctly grape-ish for a while. It eventually goes but I only mention it for this reason. One night when I was out to the pub with Liz, and of course, knitting, I was working with my new freshly dyed purple yarn. About 2 hours into the process, I'm ready to eat the north end of the southbound skunk, and Liz is feeling a bit peckish herself. Twenty-five dollars worth of Chinese food later, we finally figured it out -- our "hunger" was the sole invention of the brain, having smelt "candy" for two hours straight. Like my arse needed that experience.

Talk at you'se all laters; thanks for reading.


At 3:20 p.m., April 11, 2005, Blogger Liz said...

I must say that damned chinese food was GOOOOOD. and now my favourite "makes my ass look great don't it black pants " don't zipper
I think it is time kate graduated to real dye. Put your big girl panties on and bite the bullet chicky you are going to dye with the big girls. I can't afford new pants every time you decide to dye with children's beverages besides I am told that a much better use for kool aid is as mix. Vodka anyone???????


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