Friday, 22 June 2012

Satisfyingly quick and easy dyeing

Kool Aid dyeing

Following on from my last post, here is a little write up and pictures of the Kool Aid dyeing I did with Imogen the other day. Nothing new, same old thing for those who have done this kind of dyeing before, but thought I would share some pictures anyway, quite a few pictures to tell the story.

First let me show you my new dyeing pan - this was a great find in a charity shop recently for £3! A large pot with a colander style pot to go inside - fits all the way to the bottom, then a steamer basket can sit at the top and a lid with two steam holes. Perfect! Perfect for dyeing in the simmering water and also for steam setting so this will get a lot of use.

 My new dyeing pan

Kool Aid dyeing is simple, safe and fun. As it is a foodstuff (although why you would want to drink it I don't know) it is safe to do in the kitchen, using kitchen equipment and with children without having to think about protective equipment like gloves, etc.


I soaked this 150g merino white in a bucket of cold water during the day and then drained it just before the dyeing began.

In the big pot I poured cold water and then the Kool Aid dye packs came out. I wanted a range of blues and lavender/purple shades so I used 3 packets of Berry Blue and 1 packet of Grape. I had a couple of spares to use later if I was not sure if I wanted to go deeper but wanted subtle shading so went for less. You can always add dye but cannot take it away.

In the packets went - first the blue and it was stirred to dissolve, the grape was added last and stirred through without complete mixing to allow for different colours to emerge (hopefully!).

The wool was put in the collander pot and submerged into the dye and the pot was heated on the hob. I gently pushed the wool down and turned bits slightly but without too much agitation as I didn't want felt.

Simmering on the hob

Simmered until the water is clear - a quick check to see if it is clear. Careful, it's hot!

 Clear water means all the dye has been absorbed by the wool

 Draining and rinsing the fibre

Drained and rinsed, although none of the dye came out in the rinse and then squeezed gently to remove excess water. I also wrapped in a towel to remove more water before laying it out to dry.

Here it is on the drying rack over the bath.



And here are some pictures of it dry. This was much admired at the guild on Saturday, with members impressed at how quick and easy I dyed it. These pictures will feature in the newsletter sometime too.

 
 
Loving the range of blues in this, reminiscent of waves

Now it is almost all spun up - one bobbin full, another nearly there. I'm finding it hard to get the photos to reflect the colours well, I think between the two below you can get the idea.


Plying soon with this, can't wait to see how it turns out. Loving the blues, my favourite colours. Back soon.

Bobbins to ply together

17 comments:

  1. WOW that came out so beautiful I love the colors and how they are different blues it really made such beautiful yarn!! I will have to come back to your blog again...because this summer I want to dye some yarn this summer so bad but didn't really know how to...You've made it look so easy!! Thanks for sharing:)

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    1. It really is that easy, do try it.
      Thank you x

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  2. Very cool. Love the colours that can be achieved with Kool Aid. I used to drink it when I was younger, but then again I'd not seen what it did to wool. I seem to remember it was nice.

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    1. Thank you x
      I wonder what colours your stomach was when you were younger ;-). It's when you see how it dyes wool that you wonder!

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  3. Beautiful colors. Isn't it amazing what kool-aid will do? Very nice.

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  4. I was so envious at the guild on Saturday. Thanks for posting this. It is a wonderful guide.

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    1. Aw thank you x
      Maybe I can dye some for you one day, although you'll probably dye your own x

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  5. That looks fantastic, and I can't wait to see it all plyed together. I haven't dyed fleece before, but may have to give it a go, as I have quite a bit of white now!

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    1. Thank you x
      Yes you should dye some, a change from natural colours is good sometimes.

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  6. That is fab...I've never used koolaid before. Beautiful colours xx

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  7. I'm always surprised by how easy and fantastic dying wool and roving can be, such a satisfying experience, and yours looks lovely, I'm also loving the blues

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  8. That is beautiful yarn! We dyed play silks with KoolAid for Summer Solstice and when I mentioned the somewhat repulsive sticky sweet smell, someone said we could just have used food coloring. Do you know if that's true? Is the citric acid in the KoolAid a necessary ingredient for dying natural fibers? We're new to this game and wondering if you've got any advice. Lovely blog :)

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Hello, thank you.

      Yes the citric acid is what helps set the koolaid and the same would be needed with food colouring, or you could use vinegar as an alternative.
      Yes the sweet smell can be a bit much but it fades after a short time fortunately :)

      (deleted one due to spelling mistakes!)

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